eNewsletter for May 28, 2013   May 31st, 2013

Metrolink: Raise Ridership Not Fares for More Revenue
There is no mystery how to increase rail passenger revenue. Train revenue increases with longer routes serving as many markets as possible by selling more of the highest priced and longest distance tickets. The next best thing are good connections with other trains and connecting buses to increase the number of markets for each train. Lastly it is important to keep trains in revenue service as much as possible.

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Report by Bill Kerby, RailPAC Treasurer

The author of the May 24th meeting of a newly formed joint powers board wishes to submit a revised version of that meeting. The presentation made by Dan Leavitt was mischaracterized in the report. Agency names were not fully provided and this oversight is corrected in the following revision. The author regrets any inconvenience that may have been caused by these errors.

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Posted in Reports

By Noel T. Braymer

With about 18 million potential passengers in Metrolink’s market, it is barely scratching the surface with about 50,000 passengers on a good day. There is no mystery how to increase rail passenger revenue. Train revenue increases with longer routes  serving as many markets as possible by selling more of the highest priced and longest distance tickets. The next best thing are good connections with other trains and connecting buses to increase the number of markets for each train. Lastly it is important to keep trains in revenue service as much as possible. Transportation services sells time on seats, that is its inventory. When a train sits idle during the day or runs with empty seats that is the same as a supermarket throwing out rotten food. Markets discount food prices to sell it before throwing it out. Businesses when they need cash have a sale. They need to clear out inventory and get cash for it. Commuter train service is inefficient because outside of weekday rush hours the seats are usually empty. Trains cost money standing still, so it is better to have trains running earning revenue. Before raising fares Metrolink needs a business plan to increase revenue with increased ridership.

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Posted in Editorials

By Noel T. Braymer

This isn’t just my opinion. The Brooking Institute, a Washington based “Think Tank” came to this conclusion in a paper it released in October 2009. This paper is titled“Expect Delays: An Analysis of Air Travel Trends in the United States” by Adie Tomer and Robert Puentes. Looking at air corridors under 500 miles that carried the most people that could be handled by High Speed Trains as quickly as by air, the Brooking Institute found the top three air corridors for High Speed Rail were Los Angeles to San Francisco, Los Angeles to Las Vegas and Los Angeles to Phoenix. This didn’t count air travel from Los Angeles to San Jose or Sacramento or air travel from San Diego to San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Las Vegas or Phoenix which would add millions more passengers.

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Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for May 20, 2013   May 23rd, 2013

Your experience confirms what I had heard that what was behind the fee and reservations on bikes on the Surfliners were because of problems running on-time with the low-level equipment and problems loading and unloading bikes on the Cab/Baggage Car. The Surfliners only have one low-level trainset but it is a major cause of Surfliners being late and is preventing running times being reduced on the the Surfliners. There is a simple solution to this problem. Metrolink is now storing many of its older cars that have been replaced by newer cars. These can be leased and added to low-level equipment trainsets. One or two to theses bi-level cars added to low level train sets will speed up loading and unloading of these train sets at stations. Metrolink has already converted some of these cars as bike cars by pulling out some seats on the lower level. Not only bikes but luggage could be stored on such cars reducing the hassle of using the Cab/Baggage Cars. Also these bi-level cars are easier to use for people with disabilities and have handicap toilets. They also allow groups to sit together facing each other with tables which is very popular with passengers and not available on the low-level equipment. NB

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And statistics for the other California Corridors
By David B. Kutrosky,
Managing Director, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority

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By Noel T. Braymer

There are several major cities in this Country without intercity rail passenger service. There are many more major cities that are not connected to each other by rail passenger service. The largest city without rail service is Phoenix with a regional population of 4.3 million. That is close to the population of the Seattle area. Las Vegas with a regional population of 2.5 million, is one of the most visited city in America and has no rail service currently. Boise is the State Capitol of  Idaho with a metro population of 638,000 but has no rail passenger service. Albuquerque is in danger of losing its rail passenger service and has a regional population of 1.6 million, almost the same as Albany New York.

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Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for May 13, 2013   May 17th, 2013

Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner Adopts Wildly Anti-Bicycle Policy Streetsblog Los Angeles (blog)-May 7, 2013 Starting on June 1, the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service connecting San Luis Obispo to San Diego by way of Los Angeles is adopting a new policy that will make life harder for anyone planning on biking to or from the train. The policy is so onerous for bicycle commuters, one has to assume it’s intentional. This policy of requiring reservations and charging for bikes on the Surfliners could prove a public relations nightmare for LOSSAN and Amtrak.  NB

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eNewsletter for May 6, 2013   May 9th, 2013

Draft alternatives released for Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan
The Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan team is releasing its draft alternatives today for improving the venerable station as a transit center. Among some of the proposals  are replacing the parking lots in front of the station with open space, building a new bus terminal to handle most of the considerable bus traffic at the station and possibly replacing the current transit plaza at the rear of the station with other structures and/or green space.

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Story and Photos by Noel T. Braymer

A recent international survey of air travelers by Skytrax rated the airports of the world. No American airport rated higher than 25th. LAX rated 109th out of 395 airports world wide. According to a story in the May 5, 2013 Los Angeles Times “What’s Wrong with Los Angeles International Airport? “ this article reports “Seating at the airport is limited, security staff are rude, signage is poor, bathrooms are in poor condition and travel between terminals is difficult and confusing”, according to Donna McSherry, who operates The Budget Travelers’ Guide to Sleeping in Airports website, which rates LAX among the world’s 10 worst.” This Times article also reports “LAX could climb the ranking, she said, by improving its signage, cleanliness, ambience and connections to mass transit. “International travelers really value having that direct connection with rail or bus service,” said Cheryl Marcell, a spokeswoman for ACI World, the trade group for the world’s airports.”

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Posted in Editorials