Issue 35, April 2009

March 31, 2009

Dear Capitol Corridor Riders & Friends,

We are three months into 2009–more than five months into our Fiscal year–and, aside from the track project between Suisun and Davis, our overall performance is meeting our Business Plan standards. With completion of all programmed track work by Union Pacific on March 15, as scheduled, we can look forward to train service returning to the high level of on-time performance we achieved before the track work.

Although track maintenance work causes some disruption and inconvenience, it is essential in keeping your trains on-time. The condition of the Union Pacific rails over which the Capitol Corridor service operates gives you the best ride-quality of any passenger service in the county. Additionally, it protects and preserves the initial State capital investments made on this route in the early 1990s.

This is the fourth year of Union Pacific’s incremental program to maintain and upgrade the rail track structure (ties and ballast). Union Pacific Railroad–owner and maintainer of all but two miles (in San Jose) of the 170 miles along the Capitol Corridor route–pays for and implements this program. Also, Union Pacific used the work period to have their street-crossing crews do improvement work at road crossings, thereby avoiding disruptions to service for maintenance work later in the year. All this work was accomplished in a four-week period, as planned. Additionally, over the weekend of March 21-22, Union Pacific replaced worn rail on curves between Fremont and Santa Clara. Your patience during these construction periods is always appreciated.

What else is coming?

By May, you should begin to see advertisements promoting the return of the “Kids Ride Free on Weekends” promotion. Why is the program limited to weekends? Answer: There is no room to accommodate any additional riders on most weekday trains. Our plan is to offer affordable travel to family groups at the times when we have seats available, which is usually weekends. Check upcoming issues of the CC Rail Mail (our e-newsletter) for details on this family-friendly–and budget-friendly–promotion.

Why don’t we just add more cars to the existing weekday trains to add capacity?

This is the million-dollar question, but with the growth of ridership on both the Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin trains, there are simply no more available coaches to add. We employ as many coaches as possible to these trains, while still allowing time for servicing and maintenance of the fleet to ensure that you have clean and reliably operating coaches for your trip.

Why don’t we just buy more coaches?

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the owner of the Amtrak California fleet is in the process of doing just that. California voters have already approved the bond funds to buy more trains. However, it is not like buying a car–there is no railroad car ‘show room’ where you can drop by and purchase railcars and have them delivered in a week, month or a year. This process can take up to four years. Caltrans has started the process, but it will take time before we see the first new passenger rail cars roll off the assembly line.

So what do we do in the meanwhile, ride on the roof?

No, thankfully. As a stop-gap measure, Caltrans has purchased at least two trainsets of 1970’s stainless steel coaches from New Jersey. These coaches will be renovated to be suitable for California’s intercity rail market and will likely replace existing trains on the San Joaquin route on an interim basis. The Amtrak California trainsets being replaced on the San Joaquin route will then make as many as 10 Amtrak California coach cars available to add to other state-supported trains, including some of the most crowded Capitol Corridor trains. These trains will be in addition to the five leased Amtrak coaches already in operation in Northern California.

Is the Capitol Corridor getting any of the $8 billion “Stimulus” funding designated for High Speed and Intercity Rail Service?

We certainly hope to. These new federal capital funds are part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Allocating federal capital funding for intercity passenger rail is a new role for the federal government. The Capitol Corridor, San Joaquin and Pacific Surfliner route improvements (locomotives, coaches, tracks, stations, parking, maintenance shops, etc.) have been almost exclusively funded by State of California voter-approved investments since the 1990 bond initiatives were passed.

Highways, public transit, airports, ports & waterways, bikeways, etc., all have had federal capital funding programs for decades, so there are formulas for distribution of ARRA funds for these modes of transport. The allocation of ARRA funds for these established programs is largely a mathematical calculation based upon long standing distribution formulas. Not so for the intercity rail capital funds. The US Department of Transportation is trying to figure out that process now.
We believe the Capitol Corridor is eligible for capital funding from several sections of the ARRA Stimulus Bill, including most components of the $8 billion designated for High Speed and Intercity Rail services. We are working with Caltrans and our sister rail agencies in California to present the federal decision makers with a solid, coordinated case for funding high speed and intercity rail in California. We will keep you posted on our progress. Caltrans Director Will Kempton (a regular Capitol Corridor rider, too!) is leading this charge for California’s share of these ARRA capital funds.

How is everything else going?

While ridership growth has slowed (some of this is a seasonal trend, along with the trackwork disruptions), Capitol Corridor ridership has increased +4.6% above a year ago in the five months since the start of our fiscal year last October. Revenue has grown +8.6% in the same period, keeping us just about on budget. We do hope to see a larger ridership and revenue growth in the coming months, as we approach the busiest travel part of the year. Our revenue-to-cost ratio is a bit below plan at 45%, but we hope to be on-target at 50% recovery by the end of our fiscal year at the end of September, per our Business Plan. Our fares, even with the usual adjustments, are still among the best ‘travel buys’ on a per mile basis anywhere. We want to keep it that way. We only increase fares in small amounts, and only to keep pace with costs. Our goal is to keep up your service frequency and the quality of service that we, and our partners at Amtrak, deliver to you.

On-time performance has never been better–I always hate writing this for fear of jinxing things! Even with the disruptions from the recent track work, after five months, Capitol Corridor trains are averaging 91% on-time. Since the track work has been completed, that rate has jumped back to the 93-94% on-time level, and we expect this good reliability to continue. All these efforts to get additional rolling stock and to make track improvements are part of our plan to deliver to you the best quality transportation service we can. We focus on you, our customers. Even though our train service is supported partially with public dollars, I believe we should still operate a customer-focused and efficient rail transport service designed to serve and attract more riders. After 10 years of improvement and customer focus, I hope you, and all our riders, feel the same way.

Are we there yet? No, not by a long shot. We still have slip ups, and we can identify many situations where we can do something better. When those situations arise, none of you are shy about letting us know. Maybe surprisingly to you, we actually appreciate your feedback when things are not as they should be. We can only fix what we know about.
Although my staff and I do ride the trains often, we cannot always be on every train, or at every station. We do rely on you to be our eyes and ears. After all, the Capitol Corridor is your service, as your fares and tax dollars provide the resources to deliver it. The CCJPA staff exists as your advocacy organization, and we want to improve your service any way we can. We do continually strive to provide you with a quality product of good-value-for-money-paid. Progress is being made.

At-Seat Cart Service? What’s that?

We are trying something new that is designed to be both a convenience for our riders, as well as relief for passengers waiting in the long lines at the café car during busy travel times. You will start to see At-Seat Cart Service offered on select heavily traveled Capitol Corridor trains. The cart attendant will come down the upper-level aisle of each car, offering beverages and snacks for sale as the train travels its route. From our food and beverage revenue reports, this cart service should make it easier for those of you wishing to purchase a beverage and/or snack. So, if you see the At-Seat Cart Service “trolley” (as they call it in Britain) making its rounds through the train during your trip, let us know what you think. We keep trying reasonable ideas that riders suggest that we think make good sense, and will make our service more attractive. If riders like the At-Seat Cart Service and use it, we will keep it.

Thank you for riding your Capitol Corridor trains!

Issue 34, December 2008

December 4, 2008

From Me to you…
Dear Capitol Corridor Riders & Friends,

As hard as it is to imagine, another year has passed. Following tradition, this is my annual St. Nicholas Day (December 6) Holiday Message to you, with a review of the past year, and a look ahead to the next. Let me begin with a hearty holiday greeting to each of you, along with my thanks and appreciation for riding the Capitol Corridor trains. While some will focus on the doom and gloom of the current economic situation, we are a country with a history of hope for a better tomorrow. Count me in among the hopeful that we will see better days soon.

2008: A Year of Change

We certainly have seen some changes in the last 12 months! Through the rise and fall of gas prices, collapses on Wall Street, and the election of new national leadership, ridership on Capitol Corridor trains has continued to surge. While this last year has made us increasingly aware of the challenges in our country and across the world, as residents of the United States we still have many reasons to be thankful. Historically, our population has been the pioneers of the world, and to this day people are still willing to make incredible sacrifices to come here. They come for a brighter future, and it is this desire for a brighter future that distinguishes our country from almost any other on the planet.

Ridership, Revenue & Performance

Overall, we have had a banner year for ridership and revenue. In October, we smashed through ridership records again, carrying more than 1,716,000 passengers in a 12-month period. That is 17% growth over the prior year. Revenue also had a record year, growing 22%.

For us at the Capitol Corridor, and for our riders, there was some very good news during the past year in terms of reliability of our service. The Capitol Corridor service now operates better than all but one corridor route in the entire Amtrak system – and that route is Chicago-Milwaukee. They are operating at 93.2% on time, while Capitol Corridor trains are operating at 92.3%. We have our sights set on being the best performing passenger corridor service in the country and are working towards that goal.

The Capitol Corridor still has the most frequent Amtrak service anywhere in the country outside the Northeast Corridor (NEC). Even with fare increases, our fares are about 25% of fares for the same distance traveled on the NEC.

Your fares are paying up to 55% of the cost of the service; and since Amtrak expenses have risen and the state subsidy has been limited due to the state’s budget crisis, we still need periodic fare increases. We do our best to raise fares in modest increments and still maintain the quality and quantity of your service, so you continue to receive good value for the fares you pay. We know that there is always room for improvement, and I want to assure you that we continue to work with Amtrak and Union Pacific Railroad, our operating partners, to deliver the best service we can for you.

2009 Capitol Corridor Work Plan

What is ahead for next year? From mid-February to mid-March, Union Pacific will again conduct a track-renewal project as part of the multi-year program. The work area will extend from just north of Suisun-Fairfield Station to just outside Davis. Some 50,000 ties will be installed on 30 track miles. This work will require some bussing of mid-day trains, but peak travel trains in the morning and evening will operate through the work area. This track renewal work assures us of good track conditions so that your trains can operate reliably throughout the year.

You will see completion of the new Bahia crossover in Benicia. This crossover will cut delays in half when there is a freight train on the lower level main track shifting cars into the auto yard. More crossovers are planned, and start of construction of the new Sacramento Station passenger platforms and tracks is expected during 2009, as are improvements to the Emeryville station tracks.
The high-speed rail bond measure was approved by the voters, and the Capitol Corridor will get at least $47.5 million in capital funding from that program for improvements to better connect to high-speed rail stations. Since San Jose will be the first major high-speed rail connection point for the Capitol Corridor service, much of those Prop 1A funds will support projects that allow us to increase service frequency to/from San Jose.

Amtrak police officers dedicated to the Capitol Corridor service are working with local police, Union Pacific police and member agency police departments all along our corridor to improve safety and reduce incidents that cause delays to passenger service, especially around grade crossings. Operation Lifesaver is also stepping up activities to educate young people of the hazards of being around, or walking along an active railroad right-of-way.

Discussions between the Capitol Corridor and Union Pacific to identify capacity improvements that are needed in order to operate more trains East of Sacramento to Placer County. This effort is voluntary on both sides, and we hope that a viable plan emerges in the upcoming year.

What About More Coaches on the Trains?

While Caltrans is in the procurement process of ordering new coaches (similar to the ones we currently have), the new California Cars will not be delivered for as many as four years. In the interim, Caltrans has contracted for the repair and use of several Superliner-type cars. Caltrans plans to acquire two trainsets of single-level equipment to supplement the Northern California fleet. We hope these measures will be adequate to accommodate ridership growth until the new cars arrive.

Meanwhile, the original 66 California Cars have been overhauled and major components renewed and replaced. The soaring number of riders is wearing out the upholstery and carpets faster than anticipated on the existing fleet, so you will begin to see coaches with rider requests), curtains on the windows of all cars.

The Future for Rail Depends on Federal Support

A major part of our fate will rest with funding decisions at the Federal level. The Amtrak reauthorization bill was passed by a wide bi-partisan margin in Congress in the fall, and signed into law by the President in October. This comprehensive bill authorizes, for the first time, major passenger rail investments across the country, and federal appropriators are addressing the bill as I write this. A major effort to fund the authorized intercity passenger rail programs is expected in Congress shortly after the new Congress is seated. This is about as optimistic as I have been in my life regarding the future of intercity passenger rail.

You might have noticed that there was a recent election in our country, and it appears that intercity passenger rail is (after 37 years of waiting) about to get a fair share of federal capital funding, similar to the way federal capital funds are provided to all the other modes of travel. California is ready. We have the local matching funds required to draw down as much federal capital funding as will be available to our state. The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority has identified projects that are ready to go into construction. These will benefit both our service performance and the economy, as they will create construction jobs right away. We are also carefully monitoring the proposed economic stimulus bills in Washington so we can compete to get the resources we need to continue to grow. The new team in Washington seems to ‘get’ the economic benefits of infrastructure investment. Now, we need to get it – the capital money that is!

Holiday Greetings from CCJPA

In closing, to all of you, please accept my sincere thanks and best wishes for this Holiday Season. I have said it in prior years, and it continues to be true: this is your service, and we exist solely to deliver the best service to you that we can.

On behalf of the entire Capitol Corridor staff and our extended family at Amtrak, Union Pacific and Caltrans, we wish you and yours a safe, peaceful and joyful holiday season! Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Feel free to call us at our toll-free Customer Service Line (1.877.9.RIDECC) or e-mail us at [email protected] with any questions or comments.

Special Message to Riders

October 22, 2008

Many of you experienced delays during your evening travel home on Monday evening (October 20, 2008) and I wanted to apologize for the lack of communication to you, our riders.
First, what happened Monday evening? It started when a vehicle ignored the crossing gates and bells just east of Richmond and attempted to cross the tracks ahead of San Joaquin train 713. The locomotive struck the rear bumper of the car and the driver of the car continued on without stopping. As a result of the incident, Union Pacific closed the railroad in both directions until the tracks were inspected and the investigation was complete, which is a normal safety procedure when an incident occurs at a grade crossing. Unfortunately, tracks remained closed for nearly an hour, which is more than usual for this type of incident, and the closure excessively delayed the operation of passenger and freight trains and resulted in the delays to trains 538, 540, and 549.
It is my understanding that our passengers were given limited information about this incident and ensuing delays. I understand how frustrating this can be and want to assure you that we are taking steps to improve our communication with passengers during service incidents. We know that timely information allows you to plan for your trip and make alternative arrangements, if needed. To that end, a joint committee of Amtrak and CCJPA staff has been assembled to review Monday’s incident and improve procedures to enhance direct communication to our passengers when an incident such as this occurs. We hope to have an improved communications plan in place within the next month.
While I cannot change the situation you experienced, I felt that you were entitled to as complete an explanation as I can provide, and to apologize to those of you who were delayed without information during this service incident.

Issue 33, August 2008

July 31, 2008

From Me to You…….

Only two topics are discussed in this issue: the just-completed track renewal project and the upcoming fare increase

2008 TRACK WORK COMPLETED

The good news is that the 2008 track construction project is done. Most connecting bus-bridge services operated as planned and Union Pacific Railroad completed the work on schedule. What caused disruption to the service during the trackwork period were mechanical problems on both freight and passenger trains, some difficulty in buses handling the number of wheelchair-bound passengers transferring to/from trains, and the usual errant problems along the right-of-way (trespassers, brush fires, and a few vehicles on or close to the tracks).

NEW FARES IN EFFECT AUGUST 12

The bad news I need to convey is about fare changes in August. As you might have noticed, we did not implement the planned June fare increase that we announced in January. It was my judgment that it was not fair to ask riders to dig deeper in your wallets in June, just as the track project was getting underway, with a midday bus bridge and less-than-reliable service performance during this time. So, we decided to postpone the new fares until August and the fare changes will go into effect on August 12.

WHY THE INCREASE?

As you know, our trains operate on diesel fuel. For those of you who buy gas where diesel fuel is also sold, you might have noticed that diesel fuel is hovering above $5 per gallon. In past years, fuel has not been a major cost driver in our budget. However, this year (and likely for future years) fuel has become, and will most likely remain, a major cost factor, as diesel fuel prices have more than doubled in the last 12 months. Additionally, this year Amtrak reached accord with its labor unions after seven years of negotiations. The resulting contractual labor increases (up to 20%) are partially borne by all operations throughout the Amtrak system, including the Capitol Corridor.

While I never like increasing fares, I dislike cutting service even more. In order to continue operating all of the Capitol Corridor trains that more and more of you are riding (some 157,000 of you in May, the highest single month ever), we must raise fares. Now, some 56% percent of you are using discounted tickets (10-rides and Monthly tickets), mostly during peak travel times; but use of these discounted tickets generates only 30% of our revenue. Most regular riders travel during peak travel times (Monday-Friday) when we must also operate the maximum number of trains, employing the maximum number of train employees. The weekday peak travel times are, by nature of the demand for travel during this time period, the most costly time of day for us, yet we are generating the lowest fare per passenger.

Our primary effort for 10 years has been to INCREASE service in order to attract riders, and it certainly has worked better than anyone ever expected. Today, even with the fare increases we have had over the years, your fare per mile on our trains is still a fraction of your cost to drive by car. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates a cost-per-mile of $0.55 to drive a fuel-efficient vehicle, not including bridge tolls and parking. In comparison, the average cost-per-mile is between $0.11 and $0.15 cents using a monthly ticket on Capitol Corridor. Fares are three to four times higher on the Northeast Corridor for similar distances.

When we increase fares, we try to keep the increment the smallest we can, while maintaining the high quality and frequency of your train service.

MULTI-RIDE TICKETS

One-way ticket prices will not change very much, but some of you will see a significant change in the price of your Multi-Ride tickets. The discount for 10-Ride tickets is currently about 40% below the price of 10 full-fare tickets; and the discount jumps to about 50% for Monthly tickets, even when used only for business trips five days a week. Full-fare tickets cost an average of $0.22 cents to $0.30 cents per mile traveled; this rate is about equal to BART fares per mile in the San Francisco Bay Area. However, the fare-per-mile for the Capitol Corridor Multi-Ride tickets, especially Monthly tickets, is now to the point where we cannot generate the needed revenue to sustain the service quality and quantity without a change in the price of these discounted tickets.
So, while the full-fare tickets will generally only increase a small amount, Multi-Ride tickets will increase more. The amount of increase depends upon the distance between the stations where you start and complete your trip, the maximum load points of the trains; and the discount rate in relation to the price of a full-fare, one-way ticket between those two stations.

REVENUE MAINTAINS QUALITY SERVICE

Our goal is to generate enough revenue to maintain the quality and quantity of train service you have come to expect, and still be a reasonably priced option along the I-80, I-680 and I-880 highway corridors. Our only sources of operating funds to run the Capitol Corridor trains are your passenger fares and an annual allocation of state subsidy. However, state subsidy has been almost flat for seven years. There is neither a local tax contribution, nor a federal funding contribution. About half the cost of your transportation is paid in state subsidy, and your fares generate the other half.

CAPITOL CORRIDOR STILL A BARGAIN

Even with the new fares, most of you already know we are pretty good bargain compared to the cost of traveling any other way along the I-80, I-680 and I-880 highway corridors, and usually we are a more reliable and less stressful way to travel.

This fare change is a decision we did not make lightly, and I wanted you to know what we are doing, when and why. I also want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to deliver you the best train service we can at a competitive and affordable price (we know our service is not cheap), but we also know we are a relatively inexpensive way to travel along our route versus travel on the road, in the air, or on rails. This is your train service, and we know that having the train as a travel choice is important to you, especially now in the time of higher gas prices.

Thank you for riding the Capitol Corridor. As always, your input is welcome. You can contact us at www.capitolcorridor.org or by calling 877.974.3322

Issue 32, February 2008

February 1, 2008

from the Managing Director to you…
Dear Capitol Corridor Riders and Friends,

By now you have heard about our on-board annual Business Plan Public Workshops, held February 4-7, 2008. If you are unable to attend, here’s a snapshot of what to expect in the coming year.

Operating Budget and Fares

Many of you know that the Capitol Corridor is neither federally funded, nor funded by Amtrak even though Amtrak crews and operates the trains, staffs stations, performs maintenance on our state-owned trains and otherwise provides the necessary supervisory and support personnel to deliver the train service to you on a day-to-day basis.

The Capitol Corridor contracts with and pays Amtrak for these services with state provided operating funds. The Capitol Corridor train service has only two sources of operating revenue: passenger fares and annually allocated state funds, which have remained basically flat for seven years. To meet the state’s goal of passengers paying at least half the service cost, we have incrementally increased fares on a regular basis every year to cover the increased cost of service (eg. fuel and materials) and still satisfy the state’s criteria of a 50% recovery of the cost-of-service from passenger fares.

So, you can expect a modest 3% increase in fares this June (and possibly in November) to help us meet the state’s expectations, and cover rising fuel and material costs. Depending upon Amtrak’s projected operating costs, and the level of funding adopted in the state budget, these fare changes might be somewhat higher to enable us to offer you our current service level. In spite of these fare increases, the cost of travel on the Capitol Corridor is still competitive: a full fare ticket still costs only about 25 cents per mile. With the steep discounts of our ten-ride and Monthly tickets, on a cost-per mile basis, the 10-trip ticket costs about 16-20 cents per mile, and monthlies cost only about 12-15 cents per mile, if used five days a week for business travel. Compared to the current published American Automobile Association costs of driving (48-62 cents per mile), our train travel is a very good bargain in addition to all the other benefits (no traffic stress, opportunity to sleep, read the paper, work on your laptop, or have an afternoon glass of wine or cocktail) — things that you can do on a train that you shouldn’t do while driving!

We don’t like higher fares any more than you do. However, if we have to, riders have told us they prefer smaller periodic increments, rather than a whopping increase every year or so.
We are planning “stay the course” on service frequencies and scheduled trains. Weekdays will remain at 32 trains, and 22 on weekend days. We know that some of the trains are now getting very crowded, particularly from the Sacramento-Davis area to the Bay Area on weekday mornings.

More Equipment

We are doing everything we can to convince our elected officials that we need to order more passenger cars and locomotives, and we need to do it now. Passengers cars take about four years for delivery, and if Caltrans cannot order these cars soon, train crowds four years from now will make today’s crowding look like “the good old days.” We hope that this new car order will be forthcoming, as voters specifically approved the bond funds for this purpose in November 2006. A new fleet of cars will also have a Business Class section, where you can reserve a seat on-line for additional cost on a specific train. This is in response to passenger requests on surveys from the past several years.

Wireless Network Update

Many of you have been aware of some wireless network testing we conducted over the past few years. While the test worked only so-so, we learned a lot from the results. We learned that a useful service has to be fast and reliable, something the test installations were not; and that there are a lot more uses for a wireless network than for just surfing the ‘net many of them operational or safety related. For more than a year, we have been working with rail-experienced wireless network vendors and the Union Pacific Railroad. We had to define the needed capacity of a wireless network to support all the functions we’d like to offer that provides customers with a fast and reliable service. What we need involves a lot more time, effort and money than we first envisioned. Our Business Plan makes this wireless network a priority, for safety and operational functions, as well as for customer convenience.

Electronic Ticketing & Validation

Some significant changes are underway for how tickets are checked. We will soon begin testing electronic ticket readers, which will simplify and speed up ticket validation for train crews. We also hope to implement an online printable ticket option, similar to what airlines use, to eliminate cash fares on trains. We’ve installed Quik-Trak ticket vending machines at every station, laying the foundation for online ticket purchases as well as SMART card capabilities.

2008 Priorities

Our operating priorities will remain the same: reliability of train service, keeping the tracks in good condition so there are as few slow-orders as possible, trying to provide enough seating for riders during peak travel times, and implementing safety and security measures to continue to deliver quality and safe service.

Our marketing program continues the emphasis on keeping existing riders and filling seats on trains that have available seat. As in past years, due to the continued natural growth in peak hour passengers, we will not have targeted programs for these time slots. Marketing efforts will also increase awareness of trains as a “Green Way to Travel” to help decrease greenhouse gas emissions and help the effort to reduce global warming.

Our capital investment program will focus on reliability and ride quality improvements, capitalized maintenance (with increased service investments targeted for the San Jose end of our line and for increased frequency of service to Roseville, Rocklin and Auburn). Union Pacific tie renewal work will continue in 2008 between approximately Suisun City and Dixon. Passengers can expect a bus bridge during the work period, which has not yet been finalized.

Capital projects we hope to have funded and built are at Benicia, Emeryville, Yolo Causeway and Santa Clara, plus advancement of Trade Corridor Improvement funds for freight capacity/fluidity improvements along the Capitol Corridor route that also benefit our passenger service and that of the San Joaquins.

Look How We’ve Grown

The Capitol Corridor has been built from basically ground zero since 1991. The voter-initiated capital bond funds approved in 1990 provides the capital investments needed to establish and deliver the intercity passenger rail service we have today. Our Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) Board of Directors is comprised of two members from each of our eight-county district and each of them must also be a Board Member of one of our six member transit agencies (Sound complicated? Somewhat, but it seems to work!).

Since the Capitol Corridor is a complex series of arrangements between the CCJPA Board, BART, Amtrak, Union Pacific Railroad, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the state Business, Transportation & Housing Agency (BT&H), the California Transportation Commission (CTC), our six member transit agencies – Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), Solano Transportation Authority (STA), Yolo County Transportation District (YCTD), Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT), and the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA), some have commented that it is a miracle that it works at all. We believe in miracles, and we now have the third busiest intercity passenger route in the country, called The Capitol Corridor. We offer more intercity service than anywhere else in the nation outside of Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor.

We have grown from 8 trains a day in 1998, to 32 trains a day, and we have stabilized the state funding required to due so. We are running a 32 train schedule for about the same level of state funding that we were allocated in 2002 for an 18-train schedule. At the same time, our farebox recovery ratio has jumped from 29% in 1998 to 48% in 2007, and is up over 50% for the first quarter of 2008, meeting the state’s 50% goal.

Few public service agencies can claim such an impressive record of stewardship of public funding. What has made this possible? We would like to think that prudent “run it like a business” management has had something to do with it, but we also know that the availability of capital money to invest, build, maintain and improve the railroad, the trains and facilities we need to continue to deliver this service to the people of California also had a lot to do with it. This is why we believe California voters supported the Governor’s Proposition 1B in 2006, because it had additional capital bond funds to continue our successful, nationally recognized intercity passenger rail program.