Reported by Eugene K. Skoropowski, Managing Director, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority
October 2009 ridership numbers across the nation are beginning to show a ‘closing of the gap’. During this first month of the new fiscal year, the Capitol Corridor ridership was down significantly compared to October 2008, but again, still higher than October 2007. The San Joaquins ridership was down -5.8%, while the Pacific Surfliners have started recovery, with ridership up +2.1%, after many months of decline. Nationally, the ridership on the Amtrak system overall for October 2009 was down only -2.5% compared to 2008.
The record high California unemployment rate (about 11%) still is not having significant impacts on intercity California services. The Capitol Corridor has been impacted the most now by state “Furlough Fridays”, when state business has been shut down, but those unpaid days-off are apparently coming to a close. The Capitol Corridor still handled 137,104 passengers in October 2009, but that was down -12.9% from the record October 2008 number of 157,353. By comparison, on the busy Northeast Corridor, the rate of decline slowed in October 2009 with ridership down only -0.3%.
The long distance trains were not significantly different, with October 2009 ridership down -3.0% versus October 2008.
October 2009 Capitol Corridor revenue was down -5.3% compared to October 2008, but this is only half the level of the ridership gap between October 2008 and 2009, so revenue appears strong. Similarly, San Joaquins revenue was down only -2.5% compared to ridership being down -5.8%, with Pacific Surfliner revenue down by -0.7% compared to ridership growth of +2.1% in October 2009.
The Capitol Corridor on-time performance remains good. On-time performance in October 2009 for the Capitol Corridor was a solid 93.1%. The San Joaquins were slightly better, at an enviable 93.3% on-time, but the Pacific Surfliners slipped a bit to 79.2% on-time in October 2009.
Capitol Corridor (October 2009):
137,104 passengers -12.9% vs. October 2008
The Capitol Corridor route is still the third busiest route in the country, by a wide margin.
Passengers for the last 12 months: 1,579,376
$1,874,948 October 2009 ticket revenue -5.3% vs. October 2008
On-time performance for October 2009: 93.1%
The farebox recovery revenue-to-cost ratio for October 2009 remained steady at 46.2%. TV commercials and Capitol Corridor sponsorships of peak-period radio reports of road conditions are continuing to help ridership and sustain revenue.
On-time performance for October 2009 ‘delivered to the customer’ was: 93.1%. Union Pacific’s performance continues to be steady at 98% to 99% on time. The proportion of delays attributable to Amtrak mechanical performance is a continuing concern, and CCJPA and Amtrak Mechanical Supervision are still addressing the problem. October 2009 has shown significant en route mechanical delay problems for the first time in several years.
The greatest positive factor in successful on-time service delivery is the lack on ANY ‘slow orders’ on the entire 170 mile route. Programmed trackwork and bridge replacement work has caused us to initiate an interim schedule for a few weeks, with adjusted schedules, so that on-time performance can be maintained. Our funding of the dedicated Union Pacific night-maintenance-of-way gang is still paying off with superior on-time reliability.
October 2009 continues the superior on-time performance, and these stats keep the Capitol Corridor’s on-time performance among the best in the country.
Pacific Surfliners (October 2009):
216,234 passengers +2.1% vs. October 2008, but still the second busiest route in the nation, by a wide margin.
$ 3,651,377 October 2009 ticket revenue: -0.7% vs. October 2008
On-time performance for October 2009: 79.2%
San Joaquins (October 2009):
74,618 passengers -5.8% vs. October 2008
$2,183,202 October 2009 ticket revenue: -2.5% vs. October 2008
On-time performance for October 2009: 93.3%
Total California 3 Intercity Corridors Ridership for October 2009: 427,960
Total Northeast Corridor ‘Spine’ ridership for October 2009: 924,586
For October 2009, the 3 California Corridors are 46.3% of Northeast Corridor ‘Spine’ Boston-Washington ridership
Total Northeast Corridor ridership for October 2009 with branches to Springfield, MA; Albany, NY and Harrisburg, PA: 1,147,327
For October 2009, the 3 California Corridors are 37.3% of the total Northeast Corridor ridership.
Overall NEC Spine ridership declined by -0.3% in October 2009, and for the sixth month since its rebuilding, the Keystone service (Philadelphia-Harrisburg) declined by -6.8% below October 2008.