Why Train Tickets Cost So Much In America


Taking a train in the U.S. is often more expensive than flying and more expensive than intercity train systems in other developed countries, which often have even faster trains and better service. But Amtrak, the federally funded company that runs many of America’s passenger trains, has never made money. In fact, the company has a $42 billion repair backlog and in 2021 wasn’t even able to cover half of its expenses from ticket revenue. That business comes mostly from the populous Northeast Corridor, where tickets are quite pricey. Ridership is slowly recovering from an all-time low due to the pandemic, and now Amtrak wants to expand service in a major 15-year plan, with $66 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.


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