Get On Board! Message to Riders – October 11, 2013

October 11, 2013

Dear Valued Riders:

With the passage of summer and a new school year underway, I would like to take a moment to wish all the students and teachers a hearty and sincere “Welcome Back.” It’s always a pleasure to see so many students onboard the trains – some riding for the first time as well as students who have ridden with us in previous years.

Although vacation season may be over, I’m pleased that we have the 2013-14 sports season to look forward to here in Northern California! As always, Capitol Corridor will be there to provide passenger rail service to many different Bay Area sporting events including college football with the Cal Bears, NFL football with the Oakland Raiders, and for next year Capitol Corridor and the 49ers are working together to bring fans to games at the new Levi’sTM Stadium in Santa Clara. And congratulations to the Oakland A’s on a fantastic season!

How We’re Doing

Fall 2013 is off to a great start. Last month, Capitol Corridor on-time performance was 96.6%, which is a .6 percent increase over September 2012. Ridership for this period was 132,937, which was even with September 2012. As always, our number one priority is to provide safe, reliable transportation that is on time, and our focus continues to be on keeping the performance level high. Reducing major delays is a big part of this. We have been able to reduce bridge delays considerably, in part, due to a new joint program that was launched in March 2013 between the San Francisco Bar Pilots, Union Pacific, Amtrak and Capitol Corridor. The program identifies the most effective time to move marine traffic under the raised Suisun Bay Bridge while incurring the least amount of delay to the Capitol Corridor trains.

The results have been immediate and positive. The effort by the San Francisco Bar Pilots, (with assistance from Union Pacific Bridge Tenders) has resulted in a 36% percent decrease in delays to the Capitol Corridor passenger trains passing over the Suisun Bay Bridge in the six months beginning March 2013 and ending August 30, 2013, as compared to the same period in 2012. Collaborations like these help keep Capitol Corridor the number one rail passenger service in the nation for on-time performance across the whole Amtrak system!

Bikes on Board and Capitol Corridor Stations

Many of you have asked about progress relating to the multi-faceted Bicycle Access Program that will be deployed/in use both onboard our trains and at our stations.  Provided below are updates for the key elements of the Bicycle Access Program that we’re currently moving forward.

Bike eLockers: CCJPA Staff has a plan for most of the Capitol Corridor stations to install new bicycle eLockers for a viable, safe, and secure option for those of you who can store your bicycle at your start or destination station. We are getting through the necessary funding paper work and then this project can enter the installation phase. We hope to present this option starting in mid-2014.

Folding Bicycle Rentals: On a similar time frame to bike eLockers and tied to the same funding source, we are working on preliminary locations in Sacramento and Davis with potential to add Oakland Jack London as stations with automated folding bicycle rental.

BikeSharing: CCJPA, along with BART and many other regional stakeholders along our route, is at the forefront in both the Bay Area and Sacramento areas to establish a coordinated bike sharing system for Northern California. Each region is working their way toward a solution and CCJPA staff is working with the stakeholders to unite these efforts from the end user perspective to make bikesharing and Capitol Corridor travel an attractive multi-modal travel combination.

Cab Car Bicycle Storage Retrofits: We are retrofitting approximately one car per month for additional bicycle storage (13 bicycle slots). By December 2013 we will have sufficient bicycle conversions completed, but it won’t be until sometime in Spring 2014 when other cab-car modifications (positive train control devices) are completed before we will be able to consistently put these retrofitted cab cars out on every train on a daily basis without exception.

Policy Change: Transferability of Ten Ride Ticket

As many of you are aware, we have recently modified our policy regarding ten-ride ticket transferability, and it is understandable that many of you are less than pleased with this policy change. I want you all to know that I share your concerns, and that it’s important that we all bear in mind that the change in this type of policy was made to keep and maintain safety and security both at stations and onboard our trains. Knowing who is on the train at any time is a primary concern, and as such, a “one ticket per passenger” policy makes the best sense.

For those of you traveling with friends and family this season please take advantage of our Take 5 promotion that has been extended through November 15, 2013. In addition, our staff is exploring year-round small group fare options to make it more attractive for friends traveling together. We will update you on more details on this as they emerge.

Rail Projects:

A Union Pacific Railroad Tie Renewal Project is set to begin January 2, 2014 through the first week of February 2014. The rail segment affected will be between Richmond and Martinez.

The impact during peak weekday and weekend travel periods is anticipated to be minimal; however, we will be running alternate schedules and several mid-day bus bridges on specific dates, not yet determined.

In closing, I want to thank you all for continuing to ride with us. We strive to provide the best service possible, and it is very much appreciated that so many of you take the time to let us know what and when we’re doing well as well as areas in which we need to improve. Look for new service amenities coming soon onboard such as print implementation updates to eticketing, visual and audio improvements made to the electronic signs at stations and improved real-time communication for train schedule and ETA udpates at several media access points. Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing you all on board!