November 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline

Alternative Transit Picks Upimage
On track: Amtrak's high-speed Acela train Wary of commercial flights, many Americans are instead opting to travel by rail, rental car, bus or chartered plane.

Revenue for Washington, D.C.-based Amtrak increased 40 percent in the week following Sept. 11, according to the railroad. To cope with the surge in demand, Amtrak added 2,000 seats to its Northeast Corridor line. In addition, ridership on the company's high-speed Acela trains increased by 35 percent over the previous year.

More recently, Amtrak asked the federal government for $3 billion to increase security on its trains. Beginning in late September, all passengers and those shipping freight were required to show photo IDs. As of Oct. 9, passengers on the Northeast Corridor line were required to buy tickets before boarding.

Rental car companies also reported a boost in business post-Sept. 11. Major firms initiated special policies such as waiving penalties for one-way drop-offs, with some extending that policy into this month.

Bus and rail hubs initially will see an increase in volume, said Dr. Edward Beimborn, director of the Center for Urban Transportation Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. But, he added, "Eventually, everyone will go back to flying."

Meanwhile, some charter airlines report an increase in business. According to Lisa Pisaturo, vice president of marketing at Waltham, Mass.-based FlightTime, many new passengers are upper and middle managers "who do not wish to stand in line at airports and who want to know exactly who else is on their plane."


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