Capitol Corridor Monthly Report (February, 2013)

By David B. Kutrosky, Managing Director, CCJPA

For February 2013, once again we find Capitol Corridor’s monthly
performance report to be a mixed bag of results.
Ridership in the month of
February was 8.2% below February 2011 and revenue was down 2.7%. On a
positive note, on-time performance (OTP) was 97%, the best in the Amtrak
system for February, and the system operating ratio for the fiscal year is
52%.

Half of the ridership loss [-4%] was primarily due to February 2013 having
one less day than the 29 days in February 2012 which was a leap
year. Further evaluation of the ridership decline shows that nearly 70% of
the loss can be attributed to three stations — Sacramento [-12%], Davis
[-11%], and Richmond [-15%].

In addition, we found that some midday trains are under performing against
prior year levels and we are looking at some targeted marketing to increase
ridership on these trains as well as working with Amtrak to reallocate some
of the poorer performing trains to other more attractive times that will
optimize revenues and maintain/reduce operating costs. Weekend trains, in
general, are performing better than last year which is a testament to the
success of the 50% online discount for weekend travel.

Reductions in Service Delays – Mechanical Rolling Stock and Third-Party
Incidents

Since the beginning of January, CCJPA staff have been actively engaged with
Amtrak and other agencies/parties to reduce delays from rail vehicles
(primarily locomotives) and bridge lifts at the Suisun-Martinez crossing
over the Carquinez Strait. I am pleased to inform you that in February
there were no train cancellations/annulments. Mechanical delay minutes
dropped 67% in February compared to December 2012 when service disruptions
were at a pinnacle. There also has been a significant drop in bridge
delays. For the period of December 2012-January 2013 versus the same
two-month period last year, the bridge delay minutes have dramatically
reduced by 46% thanks in large part to the commitment of the bridge lift
and marine vessel operators to be aware of the “operating windows” of the
Capitol Corridor trains as they pass through the Suisun/Martinez
drawbridge. An improved and upgraded communications plan/protocol has been
developed to assist all parties in their decisions when to open the
drawbridge and it appears to be working as intended.

Host Railroad/Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) Delays Decreasing
It goes without saying but bears repeating that host railroad-related
delays continue to decline. In fact, Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) delay
minutes per 10,000 train-miles were 460 for the January 2013 (the latest
month for which we have results), which was the third lowest since October
2009 when the Federal Railroad Administration required this delay
reporting. Please note that the January and previous monthly results for
the Capitol Corridor are well below the established FRA standard of 900
delay minutes per month.

In addition, the previously implemented Richmond Fence Project jointly
financed with UPRR has begun to have significant positive safety benefits
for the trains as well as the community. In the two years since the
installation of the fence, there has been an 85% reduction in the incidents
along the tracks.

CCJPA FY 13/14 – FY 14/15 Business Plan Update

The final Business Plan Update for the Capitol Corridor intercity passenger
train service for FY14 and FY15 was submitted on March 22, 2013 to the
Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing Agency (BT&H) in
accordance with the Interagency Transfer Agreement between the CCJPA and
the State of California. The CCJPA Board of Directors formally adopted
(Resolution 13-01) this Business Plan Update at its February 20, 2013
meeting. The document was modified based on the recent submittal of initial
operating costs from Amtrak, which were used to further develop the FY14
and FY15 operating costs to be consistent with the implementation of PRIIA
Section 209 Amtrak pricing policy, which goes into effect in FY14. This
update results in an increase of $1.996 million in FY14 state operating
support for the current service plan compared to the FY13 operating budget,
primarily due to a request of $0.35 million for Minor Capital Project
support and $1.5 million for the Section 209 Equipment Capital Charge (use
of Amtrak-owned locomotives and rail cars in the service).

Amtrak is expected to provide final operating cost estimates for FY14 in
early April 2013.
We will continue to work with the Legislature and the
Governor’s Office to incorporate these FY14 final operating costs for the
Capitol Corridor into the May Revise of the FY14 State Budget. The final
operating budget will be submitted for approval to the CCJPA Board at its
September 18, 2013 meeting. It will be based on: (1) final estimates from
Amtrak (due in early April); (2) adoption of the FY14 State Budget by the
Legislature/Governor; and (3) the FY14 allocation letter provided to the
CCJPA by the BT&H Secretary.

California Passenger Rail Advocacy Event – Sacramento City Hall April 11
[9am - 3pm]
As requested by CCJPA Chair Spering, staff is working with other California passenger rail agencies on a workshop that will seek to develop advocacy initiatives needed to secure the funding and community support for the
California passenger rail network. The program will include state legislators and congressional representatives as well as passenger rail leaders and communities along the various train routes who have implemented or are planning developments at/near train stations. You are invited to be a part of this very important strategy session. Please send your RSVP to Cheryl Grady [cherylg@capitolcorridor.org] at your earliest convenience.

Summary

Ridership for FY13 is 3.7% below last year’s levels, yet is above FY11
ridership levels, while revenue, OTP and system operating ratios are
outperforming last year’s results. Most importantly, the Capitol Corridor
safety measurements continue to be excellent from employee and passenger
injuries to safety incidents along the tracks. Also, actions taken by the
CCJPA and Amtrak have begun to have immediate reductions in service delays
that will allow the Capitol Corridor to maintain its superior OTP, which
translates into high customer satisfaction scores that in turn help to
retain and grow ridership. The CCJPA team has set the bar high for the
performance of the Capitol Corridor trains and has the commitment of UPRR
and Amtrak as its service partners to minimize and limit service delays,
improve OTP, advance safety and service expansion projects, and improve
customer satisfaction.

Capitol Corridor February 2013
– Ridership: 127,165 riders; -8.2% vs. February 2012; -3.7% vs. prior YTD
– Revenue: $2,194,429; -2.7% vs. February 2012; +0.9% vs. prior YTD
– On-Time Performance: 97%, YTD OTP of 94% (#3 in the nation).
– System Operating Ratio: 52% YTD vs. 50% in FY12
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Pacific Surfliners February 2013:
– Ridership: 189,709 passengers; +4.8% vs. February 2012; +6.3% vs. prior
YTD
– Ticket Revenue: +11.7% vs. February 2012; +13.3% vs. prior YTD
– On-time performance: 91% (YTD FY13 on-time performance: 88%)
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San Joaquin February 2013:
– Ridership: 88,507 passengers +2.2% vs. February 2012; +9.2% vs. prior
YTD
– Ticket Revenue only: +5.4% vs. February 2012; +6.7% vs. prior YTD
– On-time performance: 92% (YTD FY13 on-time performance: 89%)

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