New direct weekday round-trip added between Auburn and San Jose
Eyeing an eventual goal of restoring full, pre-pandemic service, the Capitol Corridor is introducing a new schedule that better reflects current ridership demand and improves service reliability. It will go into effect on Monday, March 29, 2021.
The new schedule comes almost a year to the day that the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions forced the Capitol Corridor to drastically cut back service from as many as 30 trains a day to just 10 trains, seven days a week. After a modest increase in June 2020 to 16 weekday trains and 10 on weekends (or 55% of pre-pandemic service levels), service and ridership remain below normal. However, the Capitol Corridor anticipates brighter days ahead as the vaccine rollout encourages offices to reopen and more people to begin traveling again.
“We cannot wait to welcome our passengers back,” said Rob Padgette, Managing Director of the Capitol Corridor. “There are a lot of variables involved in planning our return to our full, pre-pandemic level of service, including public health conditions, train equipment availability, and budget. But now is the time to start moving in that direction, and this schedule puts us in a position to achieve that goal.”
Direct Round-Trip Now Available Daily between Auburn and San Jose
The biggest improvement with the Capitol Corridor’s new schedule is the addition of a direct, round-trip train on weekdays between Auburn and San Jose meaning that Capitol Corridor customers will be able to travel the entirety of the Capitol Corridor train route without a transfer. With an earlier morning departure from Placer County stations, passengers will have enough time for work or day trips to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley. Demand for this service has continued to increase in recent years with the growth in Placer County.
The new schedule features adjustments to departure times so they are more consistent and predictable, sometimes called a “pulse schedule”, and it features a better distribution of trips throughout the day with smaller gaps between morning and midday trains. The schedule better connects our riders to BART service at the Richmond BART station with enough time to easily transfer to and from BART at the station. The schedule also includes the return of a sixth round-trip between San Jose and Oakland, which will give riders more travel options between the two cities.
Looking Ahead While Prioritizing Health and Safety
The March 29th service change still represents a temporary, interim schedule for the Capitol Corridor as local health officials continue to monitor conditions, businesses gradually open, and people begin to feel more comfortable traveling. The Capitol Corridor expects to follow up this spring schedule update with additional increases in service this summer, with an eventual restoration of full service in 2022. The agency is also looking forward to phasing café service back in, hopefully this summer, as state guidance allows.
In the meantime, the Capitol Corridor continues to stay focused on ensuring that passengers are healthy and safe while using the service. This includes maintaining stringent cleaning protocols that went into effect last year and enforcing the federal mask mandate, that requires all passengers to wear a face covering while on board trains and buses and at stations. Social distancing guidelines also remain in place, and for passengers who wish to check how full their train might be, there is an Occupancy Checking Tool available on the Capitol Corridor website.
To view the new schedule, go to www.capitolcorridor.org/schedules.
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About the Capitol Corridor:
Managed by the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), the Capitol Corridor is an intercity rail service connecting the most economically vibrant urban centers in Northern California – from Auburn/Sacramento to Silicon Valley, and including San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. With free Wi-Fi on board, Capitol Corridor trains provide a convenient, reliable, and comfortable alternative to the congested I-80, I-680, and I-880 freeways for over 1.8 million work and leisure travelers every year (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic).