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Amtrak's St. Louis ridership up

By Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, MO – Amtrak says ridership is up in St. Louis. The passenger rail carrier says there was an increase of two and a half percent in the number of tickets sold either to St. Louis or from St. Louis over the past year.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says that given the economy, the increase is impressive.

"Some of that has to be because of the new, nicer station, probably the best station that we've had in St. Louis in upwards of thirty years. And a lot of it has to do with the increased popularity of our Chicago-St. Louis service. The Lincoln Service trains were able to increase ridership by about six percent over the last year," Magliari said.

Amtrak opened a new long-term parking lot Monday for the downtown Gateway Transportation Center. It's located one block from the train station.

"We know a lot of people have been going to the Alton station which has free parking and frankly, that improved parking lot, even though we've increased the size of it with the city, has been filling up and people will now have a closer choice if they're anywhere in St. Louis city or county."

Previously, long-term parking for Amtrak passengers was several blocks away behind Union Station.