March CA Corridor statistics compared to NEC

Reported by Gene Skoropowski, Managing Director, Capitol Corridor

Americans won’t ride trains? Are you sitting down? If any evidence to the contrary is needed, just use these California statistics. If the “auto capital of the world” is attracting this kind of intercity passenger market, the naysayers for rail investment can indeed be effectively countered with these actual statistics.

The March 2008 Capitol Corridor statistics from Amtrak may cause me to order a bottle of ‘heart palpitation pills’! This is the sixth month of our FY08 ederal fiscal year, and there seems to be no stopping the growth..

Amtrak reports for:

Capitol Corridor (March 2008):

138,211 passengers +16.8% vs. 2007, another record for the month, and the second highest ridership month for the service.
$1,907,638 revenue +33.1% vs. 2007 (there continues to be more than the ‘projected’ riders, making longer trips, buying more full fare tickets, etc.)

The on-time performance for March was 84.2% (down slightly), with year- o-date on-time at 85.6%, again, a substantial improvement over the past several years. While delivered service to the customer was below our standard of 90%, the Union Pacific performance was in the low 90% range, sustaining a high level of reliability for every one of the first six months in this fiscal year.

The year-to-date ridership growth is +13.6%, and revenue for the same period is up +22.4%. The last 12 month ridership is now at 1,543,497 passengers. At this rate, the current year should end up somewhere between 1.6 and 1.7 million on the Capitol Corridor.

The revenue-to-cost ratio for March is 59% (the highest month ever), and the year-to-date revenue-to-cost ratio is 53.3%. Again, this is the best ‘six month report’ we have ever had to a fiscal year, for riders, for revenue, and for farebox recovery, and near the top for on-time performance. And the riders continue to come………………..

For the Capitol Corridor, and indeed for all of California, the ridership and revenue numbers show substantial and sustained growth. Again, ridership growth, and especially revenue growth, across the state remains very strong on all passenger rail routes. California continues to be “home” to at least 20% of all the Amtrak passengers in the country. For a continuing comparison, the March 2008 Amtrak Northeast Corridor “Spine” ridership was 932,592 passengers, while California’s three intercity corridors (NOT including the intra-California ridership on Amtrak’s long-distance trains) was 465,387 or almost exactly 50% of the Northeast Corridor “Spine” ridership numbers. (The spine numbers do not include Harrisburg-Philadelphia, or Albany -New York City, or New Haven-Springfield). Even with those 3 NEC “branches” included, California now has nearly 41% of the total Northeast Corridor ridership. Clearly, a major portion of all Amtrak’s “corridor” riders are here in California and NOT just in the busy Northeast Corridor.

March 2008 shows that there is very strong growth all over California

Pacific Surfliners (March 2008):

248,808 passengers +9.4% vs. 2007 (6 months YTD: +7.0%
$4,166,311 revenue +16.4% vs. 2007 (6 months YTD: +9.5%)
On-time performance for March: 71.6%
YTD on-time: 78.4%

San Joaquins (March 2008):
78,368 passengers +26.7% vs. 2007
$2,270,691 revenue +20.5% vs. 2007
On-time performance for March: 81.2%
YTD on-time: 85.7%