Amtrak releases numbers since open date

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) -- Amtrak service has been up and running in Roanoke for more than a month.

On Wednesday the company reported that more than 2,000 passengers used the service in the first 31 days.

It's a little lower than expected, but organizers say it's a new service and they expect it to grow.

"We are one month into the service. We are heading into the first full year of service so we expect to see support and ridership increase throughout the year," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said.

Amtrak had set a goal of 38,000 visits in the first year. That's 104 people per day. But in reality, their first 31 days brought an average 89 people per day.

"It's just like any new products. It takes a little while for people to become acquainted with it, fall in love with it, and they want to purchase it," Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge President Landon Howard said.

"So I think that as time goes on will see ridership increase."

Amtrak said there is a strong partnership between the local tourism industry. 11 hotels are now sending shuttles to the platform.

Amtrak also featured their Roanoke service in a full-page ad in the in-car magazine. They say those relationships are critical to boosting ridership.

"Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge and Amtrak have been working very closely together now for literally months. They are working in partnership with us. There's great plans ahead in the spring," Howard said.

The holidays are one of the busiest times for Amtrak ridership, but they say that slows in the January and February. That means you should be on the lookout for good deals.

As for the plans Howard mentioned, they are keeping those under wraps. Check back with WDBJ7 for updates.