Capitol Corridor train at Fairfield

Stimulus Bill Would Provide the Capitol Corridor with Emergency Funds after Sharp Ridership Declines Due to COVID-19

March 26, 2020

OAKLAND, CA – On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, the Senate passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill that would provide Amtrak, the Capitol Corridor’s operating partner, with approximately $1B in financial support. Of that $1B, a minimum of $239M would be targeted at state supported services, with includes the Capitol Corridor. The package needs to be approved by Congress and signed by the President. Operating along a 170-mile route and serving 18 stations from Sacramento to San Jose, the Capitol Corridor provides a critical, interregional link between Northern California’s major urban centers of government, culture, and industry. The Capitol Corridor is consistently one of the top-performing Amtrak-operated routes and last year carried a record 1.77 million passengers.

“For the Capitol Corridor, these emergency funds will put us on more solid financial ground and safeguard us from the possibility of a complete service shutdown,” said Rebecca Saltzman, Board Chair of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA). “Ultimately, this funding will allow us to continue providing our vital transportation service within the Northern California mega region during this crisis and beyond.”

Unprecedented Ridership Declines

Since the early days and weeks of the coronavirus emergency in Northern California, the Capitol Corridor has experienced a decrease in ridership. Ridership first began to decline at the end of February, and then fell precipitously in March as shelter-in-place orders went into effect in counties along the route.

“With this unprecedented drop in ridership, we were forced to take actions I never would have anticipated we’d have to take,” said CCJPA Managing Director, Rob Padgette, in a recent statement to riders. “In coordination with Amtrak and our other operating partners, we developed a temporary modified schedule that reduces our train service to 5 daily round trips from the regular 15. Until further notice, we are providing service for essential travel only.”

Capitol Corridor ridership decline due to coronavirus

By March 21, 2020, when the temporary service cuts went into effect, Capitol Corridor trains were carrying just 5 to 10% of normal ridership. On Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24 combined, the Capitol Corridor carried no more than 400 passengers.

About the Capitol Corridor®

The Capitol Corridor is an intercity rail service connecting the most economically vibrant urban centers in Northern California – from Sacramento to Silicon Valley, and including San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. With a Café Car and free wifi 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 1.5 million work and leisure travelers every year.

Contacts:

Karen Bakar (510) 874-7494, [email protected]

Priscilla Kalugdan (510) 464-6992, [email protected]