Meetings & Conventions: Newsline
MORE TRAVELERS ARE CHOOSING RAIL,
WHEELSAlternative Transit Picks Up
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
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."
• TERENCE BAKER
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