New 15% off coupon for Virginia Amtrak passengers has Roanoke tourism officials hoping to cash in

The discount is good for travel anywhere within Virginia and to Washington, D.C.

ROANOKE, Va. – If you're riding Amtrak, your ticket may be a little cheaper than it used to be as the state looks to increase rail volume. A new discount fare is available for travel within Virginia and Washington, D.C.

That's not only good news for customers; tourism officials in the Roanoke Valley hope it can draw more people here. The new program encourages intra-commonwealth rail travel and Virginia's Blue Ridge is hoping it may just be the deciding factor for others to be a trail setter in our neck of the woods.

Every time the Northeast Regional squeals into the Star City, there's one thing that rings louder than the brakes. It's the fact that people are on the move and we now know many of those folks are guests in town.

"I see only more opportunities to partner with our destinations and the destinations within the commonwealth to bring more visitors to Virginia's Blue Ridge," said Catherine Fox, Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge vice president of public affairs & destination development.

The specific data ranking the most popular destinations are proprietary, but Fox said Roanoke is trending up and expects more growth year-over-year as the route grows older.

"This was something we recognized as a need for Virginia and we wanted to encourage rail travel and make it a little bit easier by offering a discount," Department of Rail and Public Transportation spokeswoman Jessica Cowardin said.

It's one of the reason why DRPT is calling all Virginians aboard under its new discount program. The new Virginia Anytime fare is 15% off for travel within the state and Washington, D.C. All you have to do is use promo code V552.

"Basically, by offering this discount, we're hoping to increase ridership and that's going to offset the discount," Cowardin said.

You can still get a better discount by booking two weeks in advance, up to 25% off. But for those looking for a last minute ticket, this surely helps.

"This time of year is exciting because it's summer, it's vacation time, so you know, skip traffic congestion, get on the train and explore," Cowardin said.

And Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge is asking; Why not Roanoke? They're looking to market the discount in places such as Northern Virginia and Charlottesville to help get people here.

"Especially within Virginia through our partners, and be able to target more people to be able to come to the mountains for a getaway and to see this as a prime destination for the summer," Fox said.

The DRPT is working on even more discounts to help make rail travel more accessible. One of those is a student discount. They're hoping to roll those out sometime soon.

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