An Analysis of OnTrack Passenger Rail

An Analysis of OnTrack Passenger Rail
A study of the system’s founding, failure, and chance for revival
A Transit System in Syracuse, NY

Former F.O.C.U.S. Intern Eric Ennis completed this report for his senior thesis. He was a presenter for October’s F.O.C.U.S. Forum on “Syracuse and Mass Transit: It’s Past, Present and Future.” Read An Analysis of OnTrack Passenger Rail in its entirety. If you have questions, thoughts or commencts, e-mail Eric Ennis

ABSTRACT: The OnTrack Passenger Rail System operated in the City of Syracuse, New York for more than 13 years. The 10.1-mile track was initially welcomed in 1994 with excitement & early success. In 2008 however, it closed due to struggling ridership and a lack of funding to expand & add new stops. The goal of this research is to examine the period when the OnTrack system functioned, how it was organized, and outline the reasons why it failed. Specific analysis is being placed on the strengths the passenger rail exhibited and what could have been done differently to allow its success to continue. A final element of the report is the development of a proposal for a new transit rail system in Syracuse, through implementing the lessons learned from the original OnTrack system. The City of Syracuse has experienced significant change since the years when OnTrack functioned, and it could be argued that a revived system has the potential to be successful if operated the right way. The purpose of this paper is to provide an in-depth look into the history of OnTrack, and revisit that idea of providing a new mode of transit that can serve the people of Syracuse & Central New York.

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