Reported by Gene Skoropowski, Managing Director, Capitol Corridor JPA
We received the April 2007 results for ridership and revenue. While California ridership remains strong overall, the Capitol Corridor is going through the roof. Once again, a new record has been set. We will have to re-adjust the scale on our monthly “How’s Business” reports, since ridership just keeps growing. Even with Amtrak’s aggressive goals for this year, following Union Pacific’s completion of capital work to/from San Jose, April was only about 1% below the Business Plan target, and if this trend continues, we will ‘cross-the-line’ in May.
Summary of April ridership and ticket revenue results: Capitol Corridor :
Â· 127,572 passengers +16.7% vs. FY06 â€“ the highest monthly ridership in the history of the service!
Â· $1,517,991 +20.5% vs. FY06
Several factors need notes here. At the end of the month, there was a slight upsurge in riders on morning peak trains following the disastrous bridge fire at the MacArthur/I-80/ I-880/ I-580 interchange. However, a greater factor in the growth is more likely to be the improving on-time performance. Delivered service to the customers was 81.6% on time in April (vs. 73.0% in March), and the ridership growth clearly reflects a continuation of the past six months with 10%-or-better growth each month. The on-time goal is still 90%, and we are working with Union Pacific and Amtrak to achieve it.The revenue number is solid, and with a 48% recovery for the month, our year-to-date farebox recovery is keeping above 45% in a continuing move towards 50% farebox recovery.
The marketing focus of promoting ridership on trains that have available capacity also seems to be working, complimented by the incremental growth on heavily travelled trains.
Union Pacific’s rapid completion of the fire-destroyed trestle in Sacramento allowed us to retain virtually all of the riders to/from Placer County. Also UPRR maintenance forces took the opportunity to perform tie work and track maintenance on the tracks between Elvas and Roseville during the shutdown of these tracks after the trestle fire, resulting in almost no slow orders along the entire 170 miles of UPRR that we operate over, from San Jose to Auburn when the railroad was reopened for service.
All in all, the performance statistics for the first seven months of this fiscal year are very strong. Union Pacific is continuing its efforts to improve on time performance and reliability, and again, it shows in the ridership numbers. In this area, it is also important to note that the extent of delay on late trains, when a delay occurs, is now only a few minutes beyond the tolerance for ‘on-time’. To the customer, this means that delays are not catastrophic (30 minutes or more) but only marginal (5 minutes or so) beyond the limit of reporting a train as ‘on time’. So total number of delays are down, and the extent of the delays are down as well. This is a very positive trend.
Pacific Surfliner :
Â· 230,377 passengers -0.6% vs. FY06
Â· $3,747,407 ticket revenue +3.6% vs. FY06
San Joaquins :
Â· 70,241 passengers -4.6% vs. FY06
Â· $1,899,622 ticket revenue -10.5% vs. FY06