April CA Intercity Passenger Rail Performance   May 18th, 2011

Reported by David B. Kutrosky, Managing Director, CCJPA

(Download:  April 2011 Performance Report)

Good performance news prevails!  For over a year, the Capitol Corridor has experienced an upward trend in ridership.  Our April results show double-digit increases continue for the fourth month in a row—nearly 11 percent more customers avoided the pain at the pump and chose to ride the Capitol Corridor instead of driving.  We achieved a recordbreaking April threshold:  152,781 passengers boarded Capitol Corridor trains compared to 137,871 in April 2010.

Thus, the May 9, 2011, announcement from U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary LaHood to reallocate the $2 billion earlier earmarked for Florida is most welcome news for the Capitol Corridor!  Secretary LaHood announced that these dollars will be reallocated for High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Projects to grow jobs, boost U.S. manufacturing and transform travel in America.

The Capitol Corridor benefits as the Caltrans Rail and CCJPA will be the recipient of $68M for the acquisition of 15 bi-level passenger rail cars and four clean-running locomotives for all three California Intercity Passenger Rail (CA IPR) corridors.  While the split of the cars and locomotives between the southern (Pacific Surfliner) and northern California (San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor) CA IPR corridors has not been established, I feel confident that the arrival of these cars within the next three to four years couldn’t come any sooner to alleviate what is expected to be ever-growing constrained seating on all three California train services.

From the results of these announcements, the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) and USDOT are serious about restarting the passenger rail equipment industry in this nation.  Financial support from the State and Federal level in the last two fiscal years include:

  • Previous $100M FRA grant in FY2010 HSIPR capital funds to Caltrans Rail for 27 passenger cars and four locomotives
  • Award of $68M referenced above for CA IPR services plus $268M for a Midwest order
  • $87M in matching State of CA Prop 1B funds

The combined resources equal $523M available for the rail car manufacturers.  This is a concerted effort to reinvigorate a lost industry in the US that will result in immediate job creation and economic development in many communities.

On another community-related note: on June 1, the Capitol Corridor is partnering with Amtrak to sponsor the annual Fight Hunger One Stop at a Time food drive campaign.  Please visit a staffed station along our corridor between June 1 and June 15 and drop a nonperishable food item in a partnering food bank collection bin to help the needy.

Capitol Corridor (April 2011):

  • Ridership:  152,781 riders; +11% vs. April 2010; +9% vs. prior YTD
  • Revenue: $2,385,457 +16% vs. April 2010; +12% vs. prior YTD;
  • On-Time Performance: 95%; YTD OTP of 95% (again 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 1.66 million for the last 12 months

Pacific Surfliners (April 2011):

  • Ridership: 253,275 passengers; +8% vs. April 2010, and +6% ahead of prior YTD
  • Ticket Revenue only: +16% vs. April 2010, and +11% vs. prior YTD
  • On-time performance for April 2011 81% (YTD FY 2011 on-time performance: 80%)

San Joaquin (April 2011):

  • Ridership: 99,391 passengers +18% vs. April 2010, and +6% vs. prior YTD
  • Ticket Revenue only: +23% vs. April 2010, and +14% vs. prior YTD
  • On-time performance for April 2011: 93% (YTD FY 2011 on-time performance: 91%)
    This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 at 5:02 PM and is filed under Commentary.