Route Ridership Up On Amtrak Heartland Flyer Route

Gas prices partly credited

Amtrak's Heartland Flyer route is seeing more people riding the rails then ever before. The service between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth started in June 1999 and the last few months have been some of the best ever.

Ridership was up nearly 20 percent in May 2011 from last year, according to Amtrak officials. They said they believe that higher gas prices are part of the reason why ridership has increased.

The American Automobile Association said prices in the DFW area are now at $3.56 a gallon.

Riders, both new and old, have noticed the increase.

"It was really full coming down here, it wasn't really full going up, but its was pretty full coming down," said Roseanna Beard, who returned home to Irving on Monday afternoon.

"I was expecting (Sunday) night to be pretty dead, but almost every seat was sold, same thing today, so I guess its making a comeback," said Nick McGarrey from Fort Worth.

All the riders had different reasons for taking the train on Monday. While Beard was returning home from visiting family in Oklahoma, McGarrey took a day trip so his son could experience the train first hand. Other riders used it on Monday for vacation.

"I though it would be intriguing just to ride the train for a change," said John Matlock from Oklahoma City.

Matlock and his son regular visit DFW for Rangers games in Arlington. They usually travel by car, but liked not having to deal with traffic.

"We talked just on the way in, and said 'we'd do it again," said Matlock.

The route is ranked as the best in the nation by customers, which Amtrak officials said is another reason ridership is up.


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