March CA Intercity Passenger Rail Performance

Reported by David B. Kutrosky, Managing Director, CCJPA

(Download:  March 2011 Performance Report)

Capitol Corridor’s March 2011 performance statistics are in and it’s clear that January and February’s results were not anomalies. Double-digit increases continue as ridership and revenue results once again set new monthly thresholds: A remarkable 148,198 passengers boarded our trains compared to 133,987 during the same period last year. This 10.6 percent increase in ridership generated a healthy 14 percent increase in revenue.

On-time performance (OTP) for the Capitol Corridor took a bit of a dip to 94 percent. Although this makes the Capitol Corridor number two in the nation for the month of March, our trains still hold the top spot for reliability for year-to-date results.
As gasoline prices soar, more and more drivers are seeking more affordable ways to travel. This scenario will have similar results as what happened in 2008, when gas prices skyrocketed and public transit reached an all time high.  Despite the sharp gas price decrease in 2009, Capitol Corridor ridership did not follow suit, meaning many of those who made the choice to try our trains, stayed on trains. Northern California drivers ditching their cars proved to be fodder for the media as reporters from local, national and international news outlets covered Capitol Corridor’s upward trend in ridership, thus helping to publicize our service to travelers in the communities that we serve.

Caltrans recently applied for federal High Speed Passenger Intercity Rail grants for three projects that affect the Capitol Corridor.  These include:

  • Statewide-Rolling Stock Acquisition. Caltrans applied for 26 bi-level cars and four locomotives of which 10 cars will go to CCJPA and two locomotives will be assigned to Northern California IPR services. The added rail cars with provide more seats to accommodate projected ridership growth on the existing trains. The newer, green locomotives will replace older models, thereby meeting the latest EPA standards, improving system performance and service reliability.
  • Sacramento Intermodal Facility Project Phase 2. This phase will continue the planned station modernization upgrades at our busiest station.
  • Oakland Maintenance Facility Phase 2. The second portion of facility upgrades will consolidate Amtrak temporary facilities, which are currently scattered around in Oakland and support the Capitol Corridor.

Credit goes to our other partners, Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) and Amtrak, for being just as committed as we are in keeping customers on our
trains and off the roads.

Capitol Corridor (March 2011):

  • Ridership: 148,198 riders; +10.6% vs. March 2010; +8.8% vs. prior YTD
  • Revenue: $2,227,701 +13% vs. March 2010; +12% vs. prior YTD
  • On-Time Performance: 94%; YTD OTP of 96% (keeping the Capitol Corridor service #1 in the nation).
  • System Operating Ratio: 50% YTD vs. 48% in FY10; continued growth in ridership and revenue keep ratio at standard

The Capitol Corridor route continues to be third busiest route in the country, with ridership at 1.65 million for the last 12 months

Pacific Surfliners (March 2011):

  • Ridership: 230,510 passengers; +6% vs. March 2010, and +6% ahead of prior YTD
  • Ticket Revenue only: +7.7% vs. March 2010, and +9% vs. prior YTD
  • On-time performance for March 2011 81% (YTD FY 2011 on-time performance: 80%)

San Joaquin (March 2011):

  • Ridership: 84,210 passengers +5% vs. March 2010, and +3% vs. prior YTD
  • Ticket Revenue only: +12% vs. March 2010, and +12% vs. prior YTD
  • On-time performance for March 2011: 87% (YTD FY 2011 on-time performance: 91%).

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