Commentary

California Corridors November stats

From: DAVID B. KUTROSKY, Managing Director, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority

The Capitol Corridor November 2009 results are a mixed bag with a continued ridership decline compared to November 2008, yet revenue was above November 2008 with a strong on-time performance (OTP) result as well. It appears as the gap in monthly ridership declines is starting to shrink and the strong revenue confirms that the Capitol Corridor enjoyed a good Thanksgiving travel period (Tuesday through Sunday), with initial results reporting ridership slightly below (-0.7%) vs. Thanksgiving 2008. Yet for the first time in 2009, monthly ridership was below the corresponding 2007 month. As such, w e will be watching the monthly performance and service results closely over the next three months to see if we are starting to pull out of the decline that is currently being experienced nationwide by the transportation and travel industries.

Obviously, the telling factors in the ridership results are (1) the record high California unemployment rate (about 11% – 15%) and (2) the impact of “Friday Furloughs”, in which state government offices are closed three (3) Fridays per month. A quick calculation indicates that these Friday Furloughs are negatively impacting Capitol Corridor ridership by 3% – 5%. It is not just the state employees that are not traveling on the Capitol Corridor trains to/from Sacramento but it is also all the other people that either support or do business with the state that are not using the trains on these Fridays.

Capitol Corridor (November 2009):

  • Ridership: 129,294 riders; -7.8% vs. Nov 2008; -8.8% for cumulative 12 month period but +7% annual growth compared to 2 years ago;
  • Revenue: -7.7% vs. FY10 Business Plan, yet 3.6% above Nov. 2008; YTD -2.8% vs. FY09
  • On-Time Performance: Continued superior results primarily due to lack of slow orders, excellent dispatching; Nov 2009 = 92.2%; YTD = 92.8%;
  • System Operating Ratio: 45.5% YTD vs. 48.8% in FY09; expenses are being maintained, increased ridership will add revenue and increase the ratio
  • – The Capitol Corridor route is still the third busiest route in the country, by a wide margin with ridership over the last 12 months: 1.57 million
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    Pacific Surfliners (November 2009):

  • Ridership: 206,032 passengers -9.7% vs. November 2008, but still the second busiest route in the nation, by a wide margin.
  • Ticket Revenue only: $4,115,711; -0.8% vs. November 2008
  • – On-time performance for November 2009: 78.5% (YTD FY 2010 on-time performance: 78.9%)
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    San Joaquins (November 2009):

  • Ridership: 84,301 passengers +3.4% vs. November 2008 (one of the few routes in the Amtrak system to have a positive results vs. 2008)
  • Ticket Revenue only: $2,771,169 : +12.0% vs. November 2008 (one of the few routes in the Amtrak system to have a positive results vs. 2008)
  • On-time performance for September 2009: 89.2% (YTD FY 2010 on-time performance: 91.3%)
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