More Illinoisans are letting someone else – Amtrak – do the driving. Between Chicago and the Capitol and Chicago and college towns, the rails have proven popular in Illinois. “Chicago-Carbondale is an all-time high. Chicago-St Louis is an all-time high,” says Marc Magliari, Chicago-based spokesman for the government-subsidized passenger rail service.
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“In large part, that's because driving is just so miserable. Whether it's the cost of fuel, the cost of tolls, or the cost of parking, a lot of people are looking for better options, and in lots of parts of Illinois, Amtrak's a much better option than driving.” The Amtrak fiscal year ended Sept. 30 with 31.6 million riders. Illinois saw 5.18 million. The Lincoln Service between Chicago and St Louis saw a 10 per cent jump in passenger count – but an increase of 22 percent in revenue. Magliari says not only did the fare increase, but more people seem to be waiting until the last minute to buy tickets.