Capitol Corridor Observes Rail Safety Month
While Rail Safety is a daily priority of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, like other rail operators in the state, we observe September as California’s Rail Safety Month. California experiences the highest number of train-related deaths resulting from people crossing or walking on the tracks when a train approaches. Unfortunately, the Capitol Corridor is not immune to these tragedies and for us one life lost because of unsafe practices is one too many.
Capitol Corridor staff began our annual Rail Safety Month public awareness efforts in August. Those efforts began on August 16th, when CCJPA staff conducted an Operation Lifesaver presentation about Rail Safety on board Union Pacific Railroad’s (UPRR) “Safety Train.” At least twice a year, UPRR invites community leaders, elected officials and the media to ride its special Safety Train along the Capitol Corridor route. This summer, UPRR ran the train from Oakland to Pinole. Along with the safety presentation, folks on this special train saw the CCJPA’s investment to secure the tracks in the City of Richmond from trespassers via fence projects the CCJPA paid for in North Richmond.
At the end of August, to help get the word out about rail safety, the CCJPA issued a news release, posted messages on Facebook and Twitter, and sent out public service announcements to local radio stations to build public awareness that September is Rail Safety Month in California.
Our loyal riders who board at Placer County stations (Roseville, Rocklin and Auburn) may have noticed their trains are less crowded. It’s not your imagination. For the past three months, ridership has dipped in our northeastern stations and on weekends. While August data shows we carried 8,885 more customers than in July, the 146,232 August ridership count represents a five percent decline compared to August 2011.
The good news is we are still the most reliable passenger rail service in the nation thanks to Union Pacific Railroad’s expert, safe and prompt dispatching. As of this writing, we are at 96% on time performance and, as I’ve heard people say, “You can set your watch to Capitol Corridor trains.”
So, what are our ridership expectations? The student ridership, which represents five percent of the Capitol Corridor market, should start to increase with the beginning of fall semesters at the five universities we serve. To target the dip in weekend ridership, the CCJPA Marketing team launched new fall promotions. This includes our discounts for train fares to Cal Bears (an online promotion found on capitolcorridor.org) and the annual Oakland Raiders home game discount. If you’re 62 years or older, our mid-week Seniors 50 percent off promotion will end on September, 30—but don’t despair! Seniors and riders of all ages can use our “Weekend Free Companion Fare” offer, which begins October 1, 2012. This online-only discount offer is good for up to 50 percent off the regular (full) adult rail fare when two passengers traveling together on the same itinerary. Single travelers can also use this online offer to get 50 percent of their ticket. This great weekend deal ends on April 25, 2013.
Don’t forget that our Oakland A’s home game 25 percent discount is in effect until the end of their regular season. We hope you take advantage of this season’s discounts and hop on board the Capitol Corridor this fall!