Amtrak California carried a record 3.9 million passengers on the Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin rail lines in fiscal-year 2013, according to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
The ridership increase is indicative of a trend in a state noted for its freeways: Californians are riding trains in record numbers, Caltrans officials said in a press release. During the past decade, ridership on the Pacific Surfliner, the nation's second-busiest rail corridor, and the San Joaquin, the fifth-busiest, increased by nearly 1 million passengers. Ticket revenue during that period rose from $44 million to $102 million.
"In California, a rail renaissance is under way," said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.
Caltrans provides funding to the three intercity passenger-rail lines in California: the Surfliner, the San Joaquin and the Capitol Corridor, which registered a combined ridership of 5.6 million passengers in FY2013. The recently approved 2013 California State Rail Plan includes a proposal to add more trips to each of the routes.
However, ridership on the Capitol Corridor decreased 2.6 percent and revenue slipped 1.1 percent in FY2013, according to a report from David Kutrosky, the route’s managing director. Despite the drop, the Capitol Corridor remains the third-busiest route in the Amtrak system, he said.
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