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Amtrak Introduces 'Night Owl' Prices With Some Routes As Low As $5 The new discounts apply to some rides between Washington D.C. and New York City.

By Gabrielle Bienasz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

UCG / Contributor I Getty Images
Amtrak train.

These days, it rarely feels like travel is getting cheaper.

But, on Thursday, Amtrak, the nation's railroad service, announced that it would be providing extra-low "night owl fares" on select routes, with some as low as $5.

"This is a great option for travelers returning from concerts, plays, sporting events or those who prefer later or earlier departures," Amtrak said in a press release.

Amtrak, also known as The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, was created in the early 1970s as a pseudo-public-private partnership. While it receives grants from the federal government, it is a "pittance" to operate compared to the effort it takes for the government to create infrastructure, such as the entire Federal Aviation Administration or building airports, according to Mike Hall, a longtime columnist for The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Those government subsidies in the U.S. and Europe can make train travel expensive — sometimes more than air travel — despite it being a greener option, TIME noted.

For example, a flight from Chicago to New York City on Saturday on American Airlines at 8:30 a.m. costs $224, per American Airlines. The same trip with Amtrak leaving at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday costs $216 and takes about 20 hours, according to the rail service's website.

You can buy the new "night owl fares" on trains leaving destinations between Washington, D.C., and New York between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.

"This deal is now available for most Northeast Corridor city pairs including stops in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.," according to the company's information page.

Here are some sample fares for coach per the press release:

  • New York – Washington: $20
  • New York – Baltimore/BWI: $15
  • New York – Philadelphia: $10
  • Philadelphia – Washington: $10
  • Washington – Wilmington $10
  • Philadelphia – Baltimore/BWI: $5
  • New York – Newark/Newark Liberty: $5

Amtrak says it operates over 300 trains a day in 46 U.S. states (and D.C.) and three provinces in Canada.

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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