Train Passengers Look to Supreme Court for Relief


Contact: Sean Jeans-Gail, 202-408-8362

June 24, 2014


Train Passengers Look to Supreme Court for Relief

Washington, D.C.—The National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) supports the Supreme Court’s decision to review the constitutionality of a law allowing Amtrak jointly with the Federal Railroad Administration to establish performance standards that would ensure quality, on-time service. This decision provides an opportunity to address on-time problems affecting Amtrak’s national network on which millions of Americans rely to connect them to economic opportunities, vital services, and family and loved ones.

NARP is currently reviewing the merits of the case. One thing is abundantly clear, however: the status quo would leave America’s passengers stranded at the station. Train passengers across the national network have felt the effects of a significant drop in Amtrak’s On Time Performance since July 2013. That was the date when the U.S. Court of Appeals – D.C. Circuit struck down a Passenger Rail Investment & Improvement Act (PRIIA) provision requiring that FRA and Amtrak—in consultation with the Surface Transportation Board, freight railroads, states, rail labor, and rail passenger organizations—develop metrics and minimum standards for host railroads that would ensure Amtrak passenger train performance and service quality.

“Currently, On Time Performance for the long distance routes is hovering around 50 percent, and that poses a serious threat to Amtrak’s ability to serve the public. Imagine booking tickets for your family, and waiting for three or four hours for the train to come, then missing your connection. At some point, passengers’ confidence will disappear—and that’s a hard thing to recover,” said NARP Chairman Bob Stewart. “Whatever the Supreme Court decides, something needs to change about the way these trains are being moved.”

NARP is working with the host railroads, Amtrak, and the Federal Railroad Administration to provide immediate relief. America’s passengers need a solution that will get Amtrak trains back on schedule as soon as possible, and end the disruptions that are stranding, delaying, and inconveniencing train passengers nation-wide.

Updated on June 27, 2014.


About the National Association of Railroad Passengers

NARP is the only national organization speaking for the users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by over 28,000 individual members.