Happy Greetings to Riders

December 18, 2014

Dear Valued Riders:

As 2014 comes to a close, I’d like to thank you, our loyal and new riders, for choosing the Capitol Corridor. We know that transportation is a choice, and we are grateful that our service continues to be your favored travel option!

It’s been a strong year for the Capitol Corridor. Ridership and revenue were on the upswing, and our trains carried 1.4 million passengers in FY 2014, an increase of 1% over last year. We saw particularly impressive growth on the weekends, due in part to the opening of the San Francisco 49ers new home at Levi’s Stadium, which is a short five-minute walk from Capitol Corridor’s Santa Clara/Great America station. Over the course of the season, our trains carried an average of 725 fans per event to and from the station, and Capitol Corridor was applauded by both riders and the media for being a convenient and enjoyable way to travel to the stadium.

This year, we also implemented our new Bicycle Access Plan to accommodate the growing number of people taking bikes trains. We’ve been able to almost double the availability of on board bike storage, and have secured funds to install more bike lockers at Capitol Corridor stations and implement a folding bike rental program, which should be complete by the end of 2015. To that end, we’ll continue putting the elements of our bike plan in place, and are looking at other innovative ways to provide safe and convenient access to Capitol Corridor stations and trains.

Capitol Corridor maintained its distinction as having the highest On Time Performance (95%) among all of Amtrak’s routes in FY 2014. We know riders value their time and want trains to get them where they need to go quickly. In 2014, we worked with our partners at Amtrak, Union Pacific Railroad, and Caltrain, to minimize delays and ensure that we meet your expectations for a reliable Capitol Corridor service.

Unfortunately, earlier this month, Capitol Corridor experienced some delays in service. On Monday night, December 8, civil unrest resulted in a train being stopped at the Berkeley station. While we always support people’s rights to peaceful protest, we deeply regret that this incident inconvenienced our riders. On the following day, having received information about the potential for more protests, we worked immediately with Amtrak and BART to develop an alternate service plan to minimize schedule disruptions and ensure the safety of our passengers and crew. We were pleased with how smoothly the alternative plan worked out, thanks to the cooperation of our partners, and particularly to the patience of our riders.

Later that same week, one of the largest storms in several years hit the region, causing more service disruptions. Blizzard conditions forced us to suspend connecting bus service to the Tahoe region for two days, and some trains experienced minor delays due to strong winds and rain.

In both cases – the protests and the storm – we stayed on top of rapidly changing conditions, made adjustments as needed, and did our best to keep passengers informed of service impacts. As with all challenges, we learned what works, and what doesn’t, so that we’ll be even more prepared in similar situations in the future. Thanks again for your patience.

With the New Year around the corner, I look forward to sharing more about Capitol Corridor’s exciting plans and initiatives for 2015. In the meantime, on behalf of everyone here at the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, I wish you a joyful holiday season. May you and your loved ones be safe in all your travels. We look forward to seeing you aboard our trains in 2015!

David Kutrosky, Managing Director