NEW YORK – Amtrak ridership increased in the first six months of fiscal year 2013, with ridership in March setting a record as the best month in Amtrak’s history, the railroad said Tuesday.
Ridership grew 0.9 percent from October 2012 to March compared to the prior year despite disruptions from weather including Superstorm Sandy. Amtrak said 26 of 45 routes had rider increases.
The railroad said October, December and January also set individual monthly records. Amtrak expects to end the fiscal year at or above last year’s record of 31.2 million passengers.
“The continued ridership growth on routes across the country reinforces the need for dedicated, multiyear federal operating and capital funding to support existing intercity passenger rail services and the development of new ones,” Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman said.
Hostess’ deal to offload last brands approved
Hostess Brands Inc. has won approval to sell off the last of its major cake and bread brands, bringing the total proceeds from its liquidation to about $860 million.
A representative for Hostess said a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in New York approved the two deals Tuesday.
McKee Foods Corp., the maker of Little Debbie snack cakes, will buy Drake’s for $27.5 million, gaining Devil Dogs, Ring Dings, Yankee Doodles and other products.
United States Bakery Inc. will buy Sweetheart, Eddy’s, Standish Farms and Grandma Emilie’s bread brand, plus four bakeries and 14 depots for $30.9 million.
The two buyers were lead bidders for their purchases.
Turkish Airlines to buy 70 new Boeing 737s
CHICAGO – Boeing Co. said on Tuesday that Turkish Airlines plans to order 70 of its workhorse 737s.
The airline has committed to order 20 737-800s, a version of the plane Boeing is making now. Turkish also plans to buy 40 737 Max 8s and 10 737 Max 9s, which is a planned new version of the plane that will have new engines.
The deal is worth $6.9 billion at list prices, although discounts are common. It also includes options for another 25 737 Max 8s.
Google to deliver Internet to Austin next
AUSTIN, Texas – Google Inc. says tech-savvy Austin will be the next city to receive the search giant’s ultrafast Internet service next year.
Google on Tuesday did not reveal how much Austin customers will pay for Google Fiber. The gigabit Internet service is about 100 times faster than a basic cable modem.
Last summer, Kansas City became the first metro area in the U.S. to receive Google Fiber. Customers there pay $70 a month for the top-speed connection.
Milo Medin, who heads up Google Fiber, said the company will begin identifying Austin neighborhoods to install the service in 2014.
Ford Focus top-selling car brand in world
DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. says its Focus small car was the best-selling vehicle nameplate in the world last year, with just over 1 million sold.
More than a quarter of all Focuses were sold in China, its largest market. The U.S. was the second-largest market.
It was the second year in a row the Focus has outsold the Toyota Corolla, according to data from automotive firm R.L. Polk. Rounding out the top five sellers were Ford’s F-Series pickup, the Wuling Zhiguang minivan and the Toyota Camry midsize car.
Polk counts vehicles by nameplate, so versions of the Corolla sold under different names aren’t counted.