May 2007 Highest Ridership in History of Service
Oakland, CALIF., June 11, 2007 – The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) has announced that May 2007 marked the highest monthly ridership total in the history of the Capitol Corridor service with 141,789 passengers, surpassing the previous record set in April 2007 with 127,572 passengers.
With 32 trains a day between Sacramento and the Bay Area, and 14 daily direct trains to San Jose, the Capitol Corridor service provides a convenient alternative to traveling along the congested I-80, I-880, and I-680 freeways. And with comfortable seats, connections to BART, and a Café Car on every train, it’s hard to find a more convenient way to travel around Northern California.
“Californians have discovered the convenience of train travel. On the Capitol Corridor you’ll find business travelers working on laptops, college students catching up on sleep, school groups on field trips, families playing cards, and groups of commuters having happy hour,” said Eugene Skoropowski, CCJPA Managing Director. “For people who value how they spend their time, the train offers a better alternative than sitting in traffic.”
The Capitol Corridor seems to be on the right track. Fiscal year-to-date ridership has increased 13.3% due to eight consecutive months of substantial growth, and revenue has also increased 21.7% during the same time period. This positive trend can be attributed to the introduction of a 32 train schedule last fall and targeted marketing aimed at filling seats on trains with available capacity.
CCJPA Chair Forrest Williams is quick to point out that Capitol Corridor’s service partners deserve credit for helping to achieve record ridership numbers. “Union Pacific has made a commitment to improve the on-time performance of the Capitol Corridor trains, which are dispatched by Union Pacific employees; and Amtrak has made an effort to ensure that the trains are running with full consists – maximizing the number of seats available on trains.”
The Capitol Corridor train service was made possible by Californians who voted to provide capital funding for passenger rail service. With no federal funding program to call upon, the Capitol Corridor was built with state capital funds, and operating funds are generated solely from passenger fares, and an annual allocation of state funds. The investment of public funds into intercity rail has paid off for Californians, as the Capitol Corridor is now the third busiest Amtrak-operated route in the country- and growing. California also boasts three of Amtrak’s five busiest routes, and 20% of all Amtrak riders in the nation are now in California.
When CCJPA began managing the service in 1998, there were eight daily trains and 463,000 passengers annually. Recovery of costs from passenger fares in 1998 was 29.8% Today, just eight years later, nearly 1.4 million passengers ride the Capitol Corridor annually, and passenger fares cover nearly 50% of the cost of service, among the best recovery ratio for public transportation in the country.
“Most would agree that this investment has proven to be very worthwhile, and we have delivered what was promised. This is evident with the growing popularity of the Capitol Corridor. Along with this growth comes the need for additional equipment, such as more train cars, so that we can sustain growth and continue to give Californians frequent, reliable and convenient intercity rail service,” said Skoropowski.