Cost of Intercity Trips by Train and Bus

Cost of Intercity Trips by Train and Bus

Amtrak collected an average of 23¢ per revenue passenger-mile in 2002 (in chained 2000 dollars1), up 44 percent from 16¢ per revenue passenger-mile in 1993 (figure 6-3). During the 1990s, Amtrak shifted its focus to urban routes in the northeast and west. When Amtrak reduced its number of route-miles by 3 percent in 1995, revenue per passenger-mile increased by 7 percent the following year. When track operational length was further reduced by 7 percent in 1999, revenue per passenger-mile increased 10 percent the following year [1, 2].

Average intercity Class I bus fares rose 23 percent, from $23 to $28 (in chained 2000 dollars), between 1992 and 2002 (figure 6-4). The average bus fare is based on total intercity passenger revenues and the number of intercity bus passenger trips, as reported by carriers to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Since passenger-mile data are not reported, average bus fare per passenger-mile cannot be calculated and compared with similar Amtrak fare data.


1. Association of American Railroads, Railroad Facts (Washington, DC: 1994–2003 issues).

2. National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak), Amtrak 2000 Annual Report, Statistical Appendix (Washington, DC: 2001).

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.