September 2011 CA Intercity Passenger Rail Performance

Reported by David B. Kutrosky, Managing Director, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority

Continuing the positive trend from the previous nineteen months, the Capitol Corridor performance in September 2011 maintained a steady upward trend compared to September 2010. September 2011 ridership was 145,894 an 11 % increase over September 2010. Revenue showed even better results with a 16% increase over September 2010. Both of these results were records for the month of September. On-time performance (OTP) was 94%, continuing to keep the Capitol Corridor as the nation’s OTP leader in the Amtrak system for the last two consecutive years, thanks to UPRR’s stellar dispatching and Amtrak’s commitment to improving mechanical performance.

A primary reason for the ridership increase can be seen in the gains associated with UPRR’s OTP as well as discounts offered on the Capitol Corridor: Seniors Ride Half-Off during the midday/mid-weekday trains, Kids Ride Free on Weekends, group travel promotions and discounted trains to the Oakland Coliseum station for the Ringling Brothers circus, A’s and Raider games.

FFY2011 Projected Results

The September 2011 performance results also mark the closing out of federal Fiscal Year (FFY)2011 (October 2010 – September 2011). The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) is thrilled to announce another recordbreaking year. For FFY2011, ridership totaled 1,708,618 million, 8% above FY2010. Projected year-end revenues were up 12% compared to FFY2010. OTP for FFY2011 was 95%, slightly higher than FFY2010’s 93% OTP results, making the Capitol Corridor the most reliable route in the Amtrak system for two years straight. The projected System Operating (or Farebox) Ratio ended at 49%.

As stated earlier, the entire fiscal year of FFY2011 yielded consistent positive results compared to prior year monthly results, which can be attributed to the end of furlough Fridays for state workers, our slowly recovering economy, remarkable OTP by Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) and successful marketing promotions. These overall positive results for FFY2011 resulted in a recordbreaking performance year, with many months setting records and showing double-digit increases compared to the same periods in FFY2010.

In addition, rising gas prices, recordbreaking performance results, a media relations partnership with APTA, the annual Fight Hunger food drive and other news worthy issues helped to garner nearly $1.4 million dollars in earned media value for this federal fiscal year—the most news coverage the Capitol Corridor has achieved in its operating history.

FFY2011 Federal Grants

In May, the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) announced its $68 million award to California’s intercity passenger rail service to procure state-of-the-art train cars and cleaner-running locomotives. The $68 million supplements a prior obligation of $100 million in federal funds earmarked for California. These federal funds, combined with California’s 20% match of $42 million brings a total reinvestment of $210 million—which is expected to bring 10 new cars and two locomotives to the Capitol Corridor in about four years.

Just as the FFY came to a close, the Federal Railroad Administration obligated $4.8 million needed to build the Yolo crossover. The agreement between Caltrans and the FRA was signed off on September 30, thus providing ARRA funds to help create up to 125 jobs and “buy American” materials for a track project that will help enhance efficient service on the Capitol Corridor route.

Looking Ahead – FFY2012
For FFY 2012, service performance is expected to continue its steady improvement. The CCJPA will continue to work with our service partners to retain and attract new riders, enhance passenger safety, maintain excellent service reliability and provide superior customer service.

To supplement this report, attached is a pdf file (please see website) highlighting some of the key activities that have occurred since the previous monthly performance report.

Capitol Corridor (September 2011):
– Ridership: 145,894 riders; +11% vs. September 2010; +8% vs. prior YTD
– Revenue: $2,194,480; +17% vs. September 2010; +12% vs. prior YTD;
– On-Time Performance: 94%; YTD OTP of 95% (again keeping the Capitol Corridor service #1 in the nation).
– System Operating Ratio: 49% YTD vs. 47% in FY10; continued growth in ridership and revenue keep ratio at standard; however, diesel fuel prices remain a budget concern.

The Capitol Corridor route continues to be third busiest route in the country, with ridership at recordbreaking 1.7 million for the last 12 months.
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Pacific Surfliners (September 2011):
– Ridership: 210,528 passengers; +5% vs. September 2010, and +7% ahead of prior YTD
– Ticket Revenue only: +20% vs. September 2010, and +12% vs. prior YTD
– On-time performance for September 2011 73% (YTD FY 2011 on-time
performance: 78%)
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San Joaquin (September 2011):
– Ridership: 85,736 passengers +19% vs. September 2010, and +9% vs. prior YTD
– Ticket Revenue only: +19% vs. September 2010, and +14% vs. prior YTD
– On-time performance for September 2011: 90% (YTD FY 2011 on-time
performance: 90%)
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http://www.capitolcorridor.org/

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