More Illinoisans are letting someone else – Amtrak – do the driving.
Between Chicago and the Capitol and Chicago and college towns, the rails have proven popular in Illinois. “Chicago-Carbondale is an all-time high. Chicago-St Louis is an all-time high,” says Marc Magliari, Chicago-based spokesman for the government-subsidized passenger rail service. “In large part, that’s because driving is just so miserable. Whether it’s the cost of fuel, the cost of tolls, or the cost of parking, a lot of people are looking for better options, and in lots of parts of Illinois, Amtrak’s a much better option than driving.”
The Amtrak fiscal year ended Sept. 30 with 31.6 million riders. Illinois saw almost 5.18 million.
The “Lincoln Service” between Chicago and St Louis saw a nearly 10 per cent jump in passenger count – but an increase of more than 22 per cent in revenue. Magliari says not only did the fare increase, but more people seem to be waiting until the last minute to buy tickets.