To the Editor:
Amtrak recently posted rider numbers for 2012 and 2011 for every station in the nation. While ridership increased nationally 3.5 percent, Virginia’s ridership increased a whopping 8.3 percent and boasted the third (“Lynchburg Train,” stopping at Burke Centre) and fourth (“Newport News Train,” stopping at Woodbridge) fastest growing of the country’s 46 passenger services. However, Burke Centre laid claim to Virginia’s fastest growing station and one of the nation’s fastest: 38 percent!
This rapid climb in riders has resulted from many factors: 1) plenty of free parking, 2) great area roads, 3) nation’s worst traffic, 4) a major population center, 5) reduction in VRE step-up tickets ($10 to $5), and 6) posting of eight “Amtrak” signs along nearby roads.
In 2013, area passenger rail advocates will be pushing long-overdue initiatives: 1) adding a “Welcome to VRE/Amtrak Station” sign at the station entrance, 2) erection of an outdoor Amtrak kiosk in front of station, 3) erection of Amtrak sign on the front of platform roof, 4) erection of Amtrak Display case on the platform, 5) posting a holder in the garage with VRE and Amtrak schedules, 6) publishing articles in local and national publications, and 7) posting youtube videos.
With greater publicity, ridership will again show a meteoric increase next year.
Dan Peacock, member
Virginia Association of Railway Patrons