Dear Riders –
This is only my third message since taking the helm of Capitol Corridor and Iâ€™m stunned to realize that 2010 is nearly at its midway mark! I have much to share in this latest â€œMessage to Riders.â€
Fight Hunger â€“ One Stop at a Time
The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), in partnership with our colleagues at Amtrak and six northern California food banks, will embark on its very first food drive to help â€œFight Hunger â€“ One Stop at a Time.â€ From June 1 to June 15, 2010, Capitol Corridor and Amtrak will have food collection bins at the following stations: Sacramento, Davis, Martinez, Emeryville, San Francisco Ferry Building, Oakland Jack London Square and San Jose.
The beginning of summer is a critical time to replenish food banks. During the school year, many needy children are served meals at school, but they lose that resource when classes break for summer. The CCJPA wants to fight hunger by asking our passengers and the communities along our corridor to donate nutritious, non-perishable food items at the stations listed above.
You can also help by publicizing the food drive. At staffed stations, ask your station agent for a handful of our Fight Hunger flyers or bookmarks and please share the information with your fellow train riders, friends or co-workers.
State Funding to Support Intercity Passenger Rail in Latest Budget Proposal
In my last issue I reported that a transit-saving bill was on the Governorâ€™s desk to include in the state budget for Fiscal Year 2011. Transit-supportive California lawmakers responded to the Governorâ€™s initial state budget, which did little to support Californiaâ€™s Intercity Passenger Rail (CA IPR) program, by proposing to increase sales tax on diesel. This solution supports the CA IPR Program and provides the ability for CA IPR services to apply for Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) grants that are available under our current FY2010 federal appropriation. Fortunately, the Governor accepted the diesel tax proposal; thus once the budget is final, the CA IPR program should be financially â€œsafeâ€ for now as the diesel sales tax proceeds will provide a stable program of annual operating funds to support the existing Capitol Corridor service levels and future expansion.
While weâ€™re on the topic of expansion and federal appropriations, the CCJPA is in the process of developing several significant corridor applications for the FY 2010 round of FRA HSIPR grant funding. We are applying for funds that will allow us to increase service frequency between Auburn and Sacramento (one additional round trip) and between Oakland and San Jose (four additional round trips). We will file these applications this summer, and if we are awarded the grants, our intent is to implement the Auburn service expansion as soon as funding is secured; whereas the more extensive service expansion to San Jose will require construction of numerous projects that will be implemented over the next five years.
Reinvesting to Improve Our Service
The CCJPA has a long history of using its resources to reinvest in our system to expand service, enhance communications with our riders and improve security. Recently, the CCJPA funded construction of new crossovers on the Union Pacific rail line. Crossovers benefit our riders by improving train operations and reducing delays. In Emeryville, two new crossovers are being constructed which will reduce/eliminate delays that sometimes occur when more than one train needs to access the station. We expect to complete the Emeryville crossovers in June. Similarly, at Benicia we completed an additional crossover in April. The two crossovers along that span of track will improve train operations around the Benicia industrial facilities by reducing delays the Capitol Corridor sometimes experiences while waiting for freight trains to serve these facilities. Hereâ€™s an update of planned Capitol Corridor projects and activities:
Passenger Service Alerts program: In response to rider feedback, CCJPA is working with a vendor to improve communications with you via text message alerts (SMS) and email. In June we expect to implement Phase 1, which will migrate our current e-newsletter, CC Rail Mail to the new service. A trial program will also offer subscription-based email or SMS alerts about major train delays and service changes.
Sign Upgrades: By June 1 we will have replaced all of the electronic platform message signs. The new signs are being installed, which will be followed by software upgrades to expand the display to four lines of text to convey detailed real-time service information to you at our platforms.
Sacramento Interior Electronic Message Board Replacement: By mid-July we expect to complete the board replacement in Sacramento station. This board is the large display which shows train data to our riders. The upgraded board will have less glare and be easier to read.
Security Cameras at Unstaffed Stations: This summer we will put a Security Camera Installation contract out to bid and expect to have cameras and related security equipment completely installed at unstaffed stations by the end of this year.
As always, itâ€™s our pleasure to serve you. Please take advantage of the many discounts we are currently offering for seniors, kids, group travel, J.M. Barrieâ€™s Peter Pan at Ferry Park and Aâ€™s fans. Details of all our summer promotions can be found at www.capitolcorridor.org.
At the Capitol Corridor we pride ourselves in delivering a high-quality transportation experience. As paying customers you are entitled to the best we can offer. Feel free to drop us a note and let us know how we are doing via our website at www.capitolcorridor.org or by phone at 1-877-9-RIDECC.
David B. Kutrosky
CCJPA Managing Director