from Eugene K. Skoropowski, Managing Director, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority
It appears that the economic slowdown may be starting to impact all California’s services, with the Pacific Surfliners taking the biggest hit.
Although the Capitol Corridor is still in growth mode for riders and revenue, and we are the only California service still ahead of budget after 4 months into the fiscal year, that growth rate slowed dramatically in January. The coming months will determine if it is just the placement of the holidays this year.
Capitol Corridor ridership grew by only +1.0%, to 128,648 for the month of January, but revenue jumped +4.5%, in January helping us keep a bit ahead of budget for the first 4 months of our fiscal year (YTD). The San Joaquins saw ridership grow +5.6%, but revenue dropped -7.6% below January, 2008. The Pacific Surfliner service saw a substantial drop in riders and in revenue compared to January 2008. This may be a reflection of that the economic deterioration in Southern California is now catching up in Northern California.
Sustained on-time performance at 93% on the Capitol Corridor has helped keep riders, although the San Joaquins and Pacific Surfliners have also seen improved on-time performance as well.
Capitol Corridor (January 2009):
128,684 passengers +1.0% vs. January 2008
This is a new January record, and still keeps the Capitol Corridor third busiest route in the country, by a wide margin.
Passengers for the last 12 months: 1,731,787, 30 months of continuous new ‘record high’ riders, still pushing towards the 1.8 million mark.
$1,793,791 January 2009 ticket revenue +4.5% vs. January 2008
The farebox recovery revenue-to-cost ratio for January is 44%, reflecting the increased Amtrak cost base due to labor contracts and fuel adjustments (FY to date: 46%, a bit lower than the 50% target). Traditionally, January through April our farebox recovery rate is lower than May through September, so we still have a ways to go to get ‘on budget’.
On-time performance for January ‘delivered to the customer’ was: 94.5%, our best month ever, and still the best of any corridor service in the country, reflecting sustained Union Pacific performance at 98-99% and continued good Amtrak operational performance. (FFY to date: 93.1%) This is also our best 4 month year-to- date for on-time performance.
These first 4 month stats have given the first third of our Fiscal Year a solid base, and Capitol Corridor on-time performance is now the best in the country, topped only by the once-a-day Pennsylvanian (Philadelphia-Pittsburgh) and still well above the premier Acela Express service on the Northeast Corridor (84.0%).
Pacific Surfliners (January 2009):
195,191 passengers -4.0% vs. January 2008, but still the second busiest route in the nation, by a wide margin.
$3,223,340 January 2009 revenue: -6.7% vs. January 2008.
On-time performance for January 2009: 85.2% (FFY to date: 81.7%)
San Joaquins (January 2009):
65,549 passengers +5.6% vs. January 2008
$2,151,086 January 2009 revenue: -7.6% vs. January 2008
On-time performance for January: 85.2% (FFY to date: 87.3%)
Total California 3 Intercity Corridors Ridership for January 2009: 389,424
Total Northeast Corridor ‘Spine’ ridership for January 2009: 742,027
For January 2009, the 3 California Corridors are 52.5% of Northeast Corridor ‘Spine’ Boston-Washington ridership
Total Northeast Corridor ridership for January 2009 with branches to Springfield, MA; Albany, NY and Harrisburg, PA: 923,396
For January 2009, the 3 California Corridors are 42.2% of the total Northeast Corridor ridership. Overall NEC Spine ridership declined by -6.5%, but the Keystone service (Philadelphia-Harrisburg) grew by +2.6%.
YTD 3 California corridors ridership is 1,694,898
YTD NEC Spine ridership is 3,358,749
YTD NEC Spine + branches ridership is 4,188,363