CA Rail Corridor records smashed again in August

By Gene Skoropowski, Managing Director, Capitol Corridor JPB

California Intercity Passenger Rail ridership and revenue records continue to be “smashed” by these August statistics. Major ridership growth continues all across California, with the Pacific Surfliners growing at +9.5%, the Capitol Corridor at +21.2% and the San Joaquins at +27.5%. These three California intercity rail services carried 568,132 passengers in August, and the Pacific Surfliner (313,570) route has carried more passengers than Amtrak’s premier Northeast Corridor “Acela Express” (250,440) for the fourth consecutive month.

The Capitol Corridor was again rated by the riders across the country as Amtrak’s #1 route for customer satisfaction for the 7th consecutive month, and Capitol Corridor sustained its “best on-time performance” (at 91.6% on-time) of all but 2 intercity corridors offering multiple frequency services.

Capitol Corridor (August 2008):

158,309 passengers +21.2% vs. 2007 this is a new August record, and second-highest month ever and the Capitol Corridor is still the third busiest route in the country, by a wide margin.
Passengers for 11 months YTD: 1,548,783 (11 months YTD: +16.1%)
(total riders for the latest 12 months: 1,664,871, +15.7% above prior 12

$2,272,935 revenue +27.9% vs. 2007 (11 months YTD: +21.6%)

The farebox recovery revenue-to-cost ratio for July is 62.5% , and
the year-to-date revenue-to-cost ratio holding at 54.3%.

On-time performance for July: 91.6% (a record high for service reliability)
The year-to-date on-time performance delivered to the customers after 11 months is 85.3%, among the best in the country. Only the Keystone Corridor and the Hiawatha Corridor have better on-time stats. The premier Acela Express service on the Northeast Corridor is 83.8% on-time for the same 11 month period, while Northeast Regional service is at 75.5%.

The Capitol Corridor August on-time reliability numbers are exceptionally good, and most encouraging. Again, like last month, not since we went from 6 trains each way to 9 trains each way (back in 2000-01) have we seen ridership growth like we have seen in July and August. Union Pacific Railroad continues to deliver for us. UPRR performance in August was again 95%, and UPRR performance year to date is between 94% and 95%, the best of any Amtrak-operated intercity passenger rail service in the country, whether Amtrak-dispatched or freight railroad dispatched.

Pacific Surfliners (August 2008):

313,570 passengers +9.5% vs. 2007, still the second busiest route in the nation, by a wide margin
Passengers for 11 months YTD: 2,683,362 (11 months YTD: +7.5%)
As noted above, the Pacific Surfliners carried more monthly passengers than the Acela Express on the Northeast Corridor, for the 4th consecutive month

$6,173,776 revenue +14.8% vs. 2007 (11 months YTD: +9.8%)

On-time performance for August: 69.3%
YTD on-time: 75.9%

San Joaquins (August 2008):

96,253 passengers +27.5% vs. 2007, keeping its slot as fifth busiest in the nation for the second consecutive month (outpacing New York State’s Empire Corridor Service)
Passengers for 11 months YTD: 873,767 (11 months YTD: +18.2%)

$3,093,399 revenue +31.1% vs. 2007 (11 months YTD: +19.6%)

On-time performance for August: 66.4%
YTD on-time: 82.4%

Total California Intercity Corridor Ridership for August 2008: 568,132

Total Northeast Corridor ‘Spine’ ridership for August 2008: 877,849
For August 2008, the California Corridors are 64.7% of Northeast Corridor ‘Spine’ Boston-Washington ridership

Total Northeast Corridor ridership for August 2008
with branches to Springfield, MA; Albany, NY and Harrisburg, PA: 1,104,113
For August 2008, the California Corridors are 51.5% of the total Northeast
Corridor ridership