Reported by David B. Kutrosky, Managing Director
Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority
Service Performance Overview
A total of 120,553 passengers rode Capitol Corridor trains in August, an
uptick of 2.2% compared to August 2013 and marking the fifth consecutive
month of ridership increases for the service. Revenue for August 2014 was
up 0.5% over August 2013 and was a record for the month of August. The
year to-date (YTD) Operating Ratio is 50%, below the business plan standard
of 53% due to revenues being budget projections. YTD On-time Performance
(OTP) remains a superb 96%, maintaining Capitol Corridor as the most
reliable service in the Amtrak system.
These ridership and revenue results are even more remarkable given the
limited operation of the Capitol Corridor (only late afternoon/evening
train service) on August 24, 2014 due to the closure of the rail route for
inspections in response to the Napa earthquake.
The following are ridership highlights from August 2014:
· Average weekend ridership was up by 11% over weekend ridership in August
2013. This spectacular growth was primarily due to the historic
ridership to the 49ers exhibition game on Sunday, August 17, 2014 at the
new Levi’s Stadium, which is adjacent to the Great America/Santa Clara
Station. Weekend ridership and total ridership would have been even
higher if the Napa earthquake hadn’t temporarily ceased Capitol Corridor
service on August 24 during the 49ers exhibition game at Levi’s stadium.
· Average weekday ridership was up a strong 4% compared to August 2013,
which was primarily due to continued growth for the trains traveling to
and from San Jose/Silicon Valley and a recent upswing in ridership on
the two trains serving the Placer County stations.
· Detailed data for the top 25 city-pairs stations through June is
provided at the end of this report.
Customer Service Program Upgrades
· CCJPA Bicycle Access Program: Using the available rolling stock, CCJPA
has worked with Caltrans Rail and Amtrak to generally ensure that there
are two cars on selected trainsets (in the cab car, opposite the
locomotive, and car # 2 positions) with extra bicycle capacity. This
on-board program has reduced crowding of bicycles in passenger areas
even as the demand for on-train bicycle access continues to increase.
To provide additional bike capacity, consistent with the adopted CCJPA
Bicycle Access Plan, the CCJPA will be requesting an allocation of
$556,000 in October 2014 from the California Transportation Commission
(CTC) for the installation of bicycle eLockers at 13 of the 17 stations
Capitol Corridor serves. (Joint Capitol Corridor/BART stations, which
already have them, and Caltrain stations are the exceptions.) Once that
process is underway, CCJPA will work to implement the folding bicycle
lease program to further reduce on-train bicycle crowding and/or induce
more convenient and safe Capitol Corridor travel with bicycle access as
the first/last mile portion of the trip.
· Improvements to CCJPA Train Status Feature on Website: Contract
negotiations continue with the selected vendor who is tasked to
implement upgrades to the train status feature on the CCJPA website.
Once the selected vendor is formally under contract, it is anticipated
that these updates will be done in six to eight weeks. The first element
will be a visual map display of train status.
• Safety Fences: Construction has been completed on a total of 15,802 feet
of fencing along the Capitol Corridor route in several locations,
including West Sacramento, Sacramento, Suisun, Oakland, and Hayward.
• Security Cameras at Capitol Corridor Stations: With initial engineering
design complete, installation will begin for camera and surveillance
equipment at the Auburn, Rocklin, Roseville, Suisun, Martinez,
Emeryville, Oakland Jack London, and Fremont stations.
· Platform Safety Upgrades: In early 2014, CCJPA and Amtrak staff have
begun a program of safety access upgrades at selected Capitol Corridor
train stations, which include, but are not limited to, replacing broken
platform tactile edges, repainting platform tactile edges, restriping
yellow safety lines along the main platform, repainting safety text
along platforms, and installing safety signs. After the Davis station
was completed in May 2014, similar work was undertaken at the Roseville,
Suisun, Berkeley, and Fremont stations. This work was completed in July
2014.The next stations to receive safety upgrades are Berkeley, Great
America/Santa Clara, Hayward, Oakland-Coliseum, Richmond, and Auburn.
· Positive Train Control Update: The Union Pacific’s plan for PTC
implementation remains the same in that the Los Angeles basin will be
first, with the Northern California area following. Initial reports are
that the implementation of PTC in the LA Basin has been delayed to the
third quarter 2015, putting PTC installation on the Capitol Corridor
route sometime after the fourth quarter of 2015 or perhaps later. A
recent report by the Government Accounting Office has suggested that PTC
installation could be delayed by a variety of technical and
administrative challenges. However, the recent serious accident on the
Metro North commuter railroad in New York has renewed the visibility of
the PTC installation project.
Installation of the PTC equipment on the state-owned locomotives and cab
control cars is complete, with all locomotives and cab cars equipped.
Initial discussions have begun with Caltrain to develop a schedule and
program to test state-owned PTC-installed Capitol Corridor trains in
Caltrain territory once the PTC trackside equipment is installed and
tested on the Caltrain route.
· CCJPA Oakland-San Jose Phase 2 Project: The first task for this project
has begun and involves the conceptual design for the extensions of the
double track in the segment between Fremont to Santa Clara/University
stations, excluding the five-mile section of single track in the Alviso
wetlands area. This effort is continuing in parallel with discussions
including UPRR and the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).
· Sacramento to Roseville 3rd Track Environmental Review/Preliminary
Engineering: A Notice of Preparation (NOP) was issued on August 1, 2014
to commence the public comment period for the Sacramento to Roseville 3
rd Track Project, which will allow for the increase of Capitol Corridor
service to/from Roseville to 10 daily round trips. The NOP is part of
the environmental documentation compliance process with the California
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The CEQA document is anticipated to be
an Environmental Impact Report. A parallel National Environmental Policy
Act (NEPA) for an Environmental Assessment (EA) is ongoing as well.
After issuance of the NOP, two public workshops were held, one on
Roseville and one in Sacramento, to directly receive public comments. An
online workshop was also made possible complete with online comments
available. Additionally, the CCJPA staff provided two on-train workshops
on the evening/morning train to/from Auburn. The NOP process is now
closed and no unexpected comments were received.
At this time the consulting team is performing the environmental
analysis for the preparation of the respective CEQA and NEPA
environmental documents. CCJPA staff and its consultants continue to
consult with affected resource agencies and the cities of Roseville and
Sacramento. Additional phases of stakeholder engagement as well as
public meetings are on schedule for release of the draft EIR/EA in late
winter 2015, leading toward CEQA adoption of the EIR in November 2015 by
the CCJPA Board. NEPA approval will be subject to the Federal Railroad
Administration (FRA).Status of
Outlook – Closing
Going into the last month of FY2014, the performance of the Capitol
Corridor continues its steady improvement. Ridership and revenues have
been on the rise over the last five months, expenses continue to be
slightly below budget, OTP remains the best in the Amtrak system, and the
Capitol Corridor customer satisfaction scores based on the most recent
survey conducted in June 2014 were the highest in two years. With revenues
lower than current budget-year projections, the YTD Operating Ratio is 50%,
below the FY2014 goal of 53%. OTP continues to be a bright spot, with YTD
reliability of 96% (best in the nation and in the history of the service),
which has helped keep customer satisfaction scores high.
The enactment of the State’s Cap and Trade Program in the FY14-15 State
Budget marks the beginning of a new opportunity to provide a sustained
stream of capital funding for the Capitol Corridor and other transit
services. The CCJPA will continue to participate in the development of the
guidelines for the investment of these Cap and Trade revenues for
transit/intercity passenger rail projects/services.