HUDSON — The Hudson Amtrak station retained its spot as the third busiest in the state, according to ridership statistics released by the railroad.
Between October 2016 and September 2017, the Hudson station on S. Front Street, served 217,970 riders, a 5.8 percent increase from last year’s statistics, according to the Columbia County Tourism Department. In fiscal year 2016, the station served 205,919 riders.
The station ranks behind New York City’s Penn Station with 10,397,729 boardings and the Albany Amtrak station with 803,348 boardings, Columbia County Tourism Department Administrator Ann Cooper said.
Cooper attributed the Hudson station’s rank to the city’s population and its proximity to the New York metropolitan area.
“This number includes trains heading north and south,” Cooper said.
Many passengers are commuters who either work in New York City or Albany. Tourism makes a slight contribution to the increase, Cooper said.
“This is by no stretch of the imagination strictly based on tourism,” Cooper said.
Some commuters are most likely from Greene County and some visitors may use the Hudson Amtrak station to venture on to the Thomas Cole Historic Site in Catskill, Cooper said.
“The proximity [of the Hudson station] to Catskill has a role as well,” Cooper said.
Cooper attributes the success of the Hudson Amtrak station to many businesses and organizations including Basilica Hudson and Hudson Area Lodging.
“This is a communitywide effort in terms of marketing,” Cooper said.
The Hudson station has remained popular because 24 trains stop at the station daily. Twelve make round-trip journeys, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said.
“It’s pretty convenient — much better than driving,” Magliari said.
Magliari said the types of passengers on Amtrak include commuters, tourists, riders who take business trips and second home owners.
The Columbia County Tourism Department, Amtrak, NY By Rail magazine and Enterprise Rent-A-Car started a program in May in which visitors can be picked up from the Hudson station and taken to get a rental car from the Enterprise office on Fairview Avenue, Columbia County Tourism Department Deputy Administrator Adam Miller said. Once the visitor is finished with the rental, the vehicle can be dropped off at the station.
“It’s made it a lot better,” Miller said. “This eliminated the need to worry about getting a taxi to Fairview.”
The service has been beneficial to passengers who want to visit the Olana Historic Site and other areas that are not within walking distance of the station, Miller said. Miller said part of the ridership increase has to do with the program, but not all.
“The only way to get to historic sites is by taxi or rental car,” Miller said.
Magliari said Amtrak has worked with the Columbia County Tourism Department on multiple promotions over the years and said the Enterprise program has made it easier to get to places that are outside cities.
“The ongoing expansion of ridesharing makes going to locations that aren’t in metropolitan areas more accessible,” Magliari said.
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