When you increase frequency, you get more passengers. That is the lesson for the sad Daily Pennsylvanian line between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. Increasing service on that line closer to Keystone Corridor level is a key public investment that we need to make.
Stephen Smith explains what happened to the Keystone Corridor:
Pennsylvania’s Keystone Corridor Takes Off
I’m not sure why it’s listed as a commuter rail corridor since it’s clearly an intercity route, but the Keystone Corridor’s Harrisburg-to-Philadelphia service saw a 33.9 percent jump in riders between 2012 and 2013, growing to 4,200 each weekday. (Between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2013, it more than doubled.) The gains are possibly due to incremental speed enhancements along the line over the past decade: While in 2004 most of the track limited service to 70 miles per hour, trains can now travel along some segments at up to 110 miles per hour. If you haven’t read former Amtrak President David Gunnexplain how he upgraded the corridor on the sly, avoiding the bureaucracy that normally comes with high-profile capital projects, it’s worth a few minutes of your time.