CA July 3-Corridor ridership smashes records!

Coast Starlight overnight ridership UP!

Report and Comments provided by Eugene K. Skoropowski
Managing Director
Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority

Whatever records on ridership and revenue that existed before July 2008 can be considered “smashed” by the July statistics. Major growth happened all across California, and the Capitol Corridor and San Joaquins both grew at a startling 32+% in riders, and the San Joaquins broke 100,000 for the first time ever in a single month. The Pacific Surfliners carried more passengers than Amtrak’s premier Northeast Corridor “Acela Express” for the third consecutive month.

The Capitol Corridor was rated by the riders across the country as Amtrak’s #1 route for customer satisfaction for the 6th consecutive month, and Capitol Corridor returned to the best on-time performance of all but 2 intercity corridors offering multiple frequency services.

Capitol Corridor (July 2008):

161,731 passengers +32.6% vs. 2007
(another all-time record, and still the third busiest route in the country,
by a wide margin)
Passengers for 10 months YTD: 1,390,474 (10 months YTD: +15.5%)
(total riders for the latest 12 months: 1,637,130, +15.5% above prior 12 months)

$2,236,661 revenue +34.3% vs. 2007 (10 months YTD: +21.3%)

The farebox recovery revenue-to-cost ratio for July is 64.9% (an all time high), and the year-to-date revenue-to-cost ratio is 55%.

On-time performance for July: 86.7% (a complete recovery from June’s trackwork performance)
The year-to-date on-time performance delivered to the customers after 10 months is 84.8%, an enviable record. Only the Keystone Corridor and the Hiawatha Corridor have better on-time stats. The premier Acela Express service on the Northeast Corridor is 83.5% on-time for the same 10 month period, while Northeast Regional service is at 75.7%.

We had expected a bit of rebound after completion of the June track work, and return to our usually reliable service, but these numbers are overwhelming. Not since we went from 6 trains each way to 9 trains each way (back in 2000-01) have we seen a percentage growth like we have seen in July. It appears we may have also won some permanent ‘converts’ from Davis as a result of Yolo County’s ‘promotional program’ during the I-5 construction in Sacramento (now completed). Union Pacific continues to deliver for us. UPRR performance in July was 95%, and UPRR performance year to date is between 94% and 95%, again the best of any Amtrak- operated intercity passenger rail service in the country, whether Amtrak dispatched or freight railroad dispatched.

Pacific Surfliners (July 2008):

301,374 passengers +12.3% vs. 2007, still the second busiest route in the nation, by a wide margin
Passengers for 10 months YTD: 2,369,792 (10 months YTD: +7.3%)
As noted above, this is more monthly passengers than the Acela Express on the Northeast Corridor, for the 3rd consecutive month

$6,002,911 revenue +18.1% vs. 2007 (10 months YTD: +9.1%)

On-time performance for July: 69.9%
YTD on-time: 76.6%

San Joaquins (July 2008):

100,564 passengers +32.1% vs. 2007, now fifth busiest in the nation (overtaking New York State’s Empire Corridor Service)
Passengers for 10 months YTD: 777,514 (10 months YTD: +17.2%)

$3,444,847 revenue +47.5% vs. 2007 (10 months YTD: +18.3%)

On-time performance for July: 80.4%
YTD on-time: 84.0%

Total California Intercity Corridor Ridership for July 2008: 563,669

Total Northeast Corridor ‘Spine’ ridership for July 2008: 922,150
For July 2008, California Corridors are 61.2% of Northeast Corridor ‘Spine’ Boston-Washington ridership

Total Northeast Corridor ridership for July 2008
with branches to Springfield, MA; Albany, NY and Harrisburg, PA: 1,152,835 For July 2008, California Corridors are 49% of the total Northeast Corridor ridership
NOTE: (Report from the Puget Sound Business Journal)
Citing higher fuel costs and problems with America’s airlines, Amtrak said its Coast Starlight overnight train service between Seattle and Los Angeles was its most popular overnight train in the month of July with more than 47,000 passengers, a 27.7 percent increase from a year earlier.