June 1 & 2 Delays and Fight Hunger Launch

June 2, 2011

June 1 and 2 Delays
The Capitol Corridor Management team considers safety and the safe operation of trains as our top priority. One initiative to ensure safety on trains is “Efficiency Testing” conducted by our host railroad. You may have been on our trains on June 1st and 2nd when numerous Capitol Corridor trains were delayed because of mandatory railroad Efficiency Testing.

Efficiency Testing is prescribed by the Federal Railroad Administration. These unannounced tests are staged by railroad management. By law, all railroad train crews, including Capitol Corridor crews, must be randomly tested. When tested, train crews may be asked to produce all required rule books and documents to ensure they are up to date and in good order and crews may be quizzed on railroad rules. Tests are random and unannounced, so there is no way to predict when or where a random test will be held.

While not a frequent event, testing does occur on small scale every month, or in larger exercises like the ones that took place on June 1st and 2nd that test multiple train crews, which did cause delays. Capitol Corridor staff is committed to work with Amtrak and Union Pacific, our host railroad, to keep trains moving with minimal impact to our schedules within the framework of the FRA and railroad rules.

To add to everyone’s stress level, Amtrak also experienced ticket system and passenger display sign outages on June 2. Fortunately, those outages have been addressed.

We know that you have come to rely on the Capitol Corridor to get you where you need to go and we want to maintain your confidence in the 95 % on-time performance we have worked to achieve these past two years.

Transportation options are a choice, and I am grateful that you choose to ride the Capitol Corridor. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

“Fight Hunger One Stop at a Time” Launch
On a community-related note, early on June 1 we launched the second annual “Fight Hunger One Stop at a Time” food drive. This is the most expansive food drive in California, involving eight counties, seven food banks and six staffed Capitol Corridor/Amtrak stations. Our goal is to help families in need from Placer County to Silicon Valley. School breakfast/lunch programs are not available for kids during the summertime when school is out.

As part of our launch to build public awareness about the food drive, I took the train to Sacramento Valley Station to thank the passengers from Placer County as they lined up to drop food donations to help families in need. Residents from the City of Sacramento, watching the footage from early morning news casts, came from their homes to donate as well.

On Monday, June 6, the “CC Riders” are sponsoring a community food drop off event at the Auburn/Conheim Station at 6:30 p.m. If you’re a Placer County resident, please bring a non-perishable food item to help replenish the Placer Food Bank!

We would love to exceed the nearly half a ton of food we collected last year for families in need. Again I write:  If each passenger decides to donate at least one food item during our campaign, think of the tens of thousands of people we can help to feed!

Fight Hunger One Stop at a Time

May 27, 2011

Capitol Corridor & Amtrak to Fight Hunger One Stop at a Time

Fighting hunger and helping those in need is a worthy cause the CCJPA and Amtrak are eager to support.  Once again, we will partner with Northern California food banks Sacramento to Silicon Valley to help “Fight Hunger One Stop at a Time” from .

From June 1 to June 15, 2011, Capitol Corridor and Amtrak will have food collection bins at staffed Amtrak/Capitol Corridor stations.  You can find the list of staffed stations, links to make online donations and other details about the campaign here.

Last year, with your help we were able to collect nearly half a ton of food for those in need, especially families with children who depend on school-provided meals.  Please help us Fight Hunger this June.  If each passenger decides to donate at least one food item during our campaign, think of the tens of thousands of people we can help to feed!

It’s time to Get On Board!

May 17, 2011

Welcome to Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority’s official blog:  “Get On Board with David Kutrosky”  While I’m not addicted to my PDA, I do put it to good use.  I often use it to catch up on blogs that my peers post and I each time I do, I’m inspired to create my own.  This relatively new way for me to communicate will enable me to exchange comments with an on-line audience.

While I plan to continue publishing my quarterly “Message to Riders” for the segment of our riders who aren’t on the grid, the on-line version of “Message to Riders” will have this newer platform. Also, you’ll notice that the previous editions of “Message to Riders” are archived here.

Evolving my messages into a blog will give many of you timely status updates as well as an opportunity to post comments on my blog page.  I intend to explore a new topic every two weeks, including brief updates about Capitol Corridor projects and public transportation in general.

Apology for Delays on March 25 & 28

March 29, 2011

We would like to extend our apologies for delays experienced on Train 524, Friday, March 25 and Train 523 yesterday, Monday, March 28. Some passengers have experienced long delays and train cancellations. This is not the level of service you expect from the Capitol Corridor, and falls well below the quality of service we work to provide you.

We have a clear understanding of the inconveniences delayed or canceled trains can cause, and for that we apologize.

A few of the morning trains, Train 523 in particular, have been directly or indirectly delayed by these mechanical issues last week or yesterday. Please rest assured that these back-to-back mechanical issues are being addressed with the Amtrak mechanical team and we are taking steps to monitor and avoid repeated events like this in the future.

We worked hard to achieve an average 95+% on-time performance for 2010, which is the best in the Amtrak-operated system.

Despite these recent delays, we remain committed to maintain that level of on-time service to our passengers and will work closely with our operating partners to bring you the service you’ve come to expect.

David B. Kutrosky
Managing Director
Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority

Issue 42, December 2010

December 3, 2010

Dear Riders:
On behalf of the team at Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), I’d like to wish you a joyful holiday season! In fact, if you’re on Train 538 on December 7th or Train 544 (between San Jose and Martinez) on December 9th come join me in the Café Car—where we will host our quarterly Rider Appreciation Events—so I may extend my season’s greetings to you in person!

The holiday season is often the time one reflects on the high points of the year while preparing for the next. From our perspective, the CCJPA has much to be thankful for this past year. Despite a shaky start, we’re ending 2010 on a positive note. Because of new and loyal passengers, ridership and revenue are steadily climbing. Our host railroad, Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR), has helped us achieve a stellar on-time performance (OTP) of 96%, which continues to make Capitol Corridor the nation’s OTP leader. We are pleased that this year you, the passengers, rated Capitol Corridor and Amtrak, our operating partner, the highest satisfaction levels since we began the bi-annual on-board surveys over ten years ago.

Completed Projects
Part of our customer service strategy is to improve communications with our riders and enhance security and safety on our trains, in the stations and along our corridor. Our 2010 projects included:

  • Introducing Capitol Corridor’s E-Updates program so passengers may receive real-time schedule changes and service alerts. More than 270 riders have visited capitolcorridor.org to sign up for this free service.
    Replacing the wall display board in the Sacramento station as well as the Passenger Informational Digital Signs (PIDS) at each station along the corridor. The new signs can carry more text and are easier to read.
    Using Proposition 1B (the voter-approved transportation bond) money to fund the completion of new fencing in Richmond and Oakland-Jack London Square which will help deter trespassers.
    Deploying our hand-held automated ticketing validation (ATV) device pilot program.

Looking Ahead In 2011

  • The CCJPA is committed to working with our service partners to retain and attract new riders, enhance passenger safety, maintain excellent service reliability and provide superior customer service. In 2011, we plan to:
    Use Proposition 1B funds toward installing fences at other UPRR-identified areas to prevent trespassers.
    Full deployment of ATV devices on all trains. The goal of the ATV project is to improve ease of ticketing for passengers. Implementation of these devices lays the groundwork for print-at-home ticketing once Amtrak launches its “E-ticketing” program.
    Work with Amtrak to install a wireless system onboard our train cars so our passengers may have free access to the internet while riding our trains.

Changes to the Board
CCJPA Introduces New Chair and Vice-Chair
On November 17, the CCJPA Board of Directors unanimously voted in Director Bob Franklin as CCJPA Chair and Jim Spering as CCJPA Vice Chair for the 2011-2012 term. Chair Franklin, who represents part of Contra Costa and Alameda counties, will have the distinction of concurrently serving as the Bay Area Rapid Transit District Board President in 2011 as well. He has served on both Boards since 2004 and brings a wealth of transportation and green initiatives to the dais. Vice Chair Spering is fondly known as the “father of Capitol Corridor” as he played a key role in establishing the service. He represents Solano County Board of Supervisors.

Farewell to Directors Dickinson, Augustine and Chu
Three members of CCJPA’s 16-member board will be leaving us in 2011: Roger Dickinson, Len Augustine and Dean Chu.

I extend hearty congratulations to CCJPA Director Roger Dickinson, a leading progressive voice on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, who was recently elected to represent the 9th Assembly District. He has served on the CCJPA Board since 2000.

I wish all the best to Director Augustine, who in July of this year announced his decision to retire and to not run for re-election. As former chair of the Solano Transportation Authority and long-time Mayor of Vacaville, the CCJPA benefited from his years of public service and transit leadership.

Finally, I want to thank Dean Chu, Metropolitan Transportation Commissioner and former City of Sunnyvale Mayor, for his role in representing Santa Clara County on the CCJPA Board. Director Chu will finish his tenure on our board at the end of 2010. This was his second term on our Board as he also served as a CCJPA Director in 2006 and 2007.

Act Now!
Support Parity Between Parking & Transit Commuter Benefits
Does your employer offer you pre-tax transit benefits? If you’re one of the thousands of employees who take advantage of the IRS increased transit benefit of $230/month, you may want to act today to help preserve it. The increased transit benefit, which puts it equal to the parking benefit, is set to expire on December 31, 2010. Please visit preservethelimit.com to add your voice to the thousands of others who have emailed their Congressperson or Senator asking them to permanently enact the $230 pre-tax transit limit.

Happy Holidays
Let me again wish you a joyful holiday season and extend our gratitude for your continued loyalty. We hope that we have succeeded in making your Capitol Corridor experience a pleasant one. Our continued goal is to deliver you, the paying customer, a high-quality transportation experience. If I don’t see you on one of our trains, please contact us via capitolcorridor.org or at 877-974-3322 to let us know how we’re doing!

Season’s greetings,
David B. Kutrosky
CCJPA Managing Director