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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Capitol Corridor posts ridership decline in June, seeks ways to reverse the trend


Capitol Corridor posted a 4 percent drop in ridership and a 0.7 percent decline in revenue in June compared with the same month a year ago, but other service measures "continue to be steady or improving," as Capitol Corridor officials put it in a prepared statement.

At 95 percent, June's on-time performance "continues to keep an element of performance on the bright side," officials said. "[It is] keeping the Capitol Corridor on top of the leader board in service reliability in the Amtrak system."

First-half ridership was 3 percent below last year's total through June, while revenue was slightly below the same 2012 period (down 0.7 percent).

A "detailed analysis" of the ridership database from October 2012 through May 2013 indicates that ridership is steady on weekends and growing in the San Jose/Silicon Valley travel market, Capitol Corridor officials said. There also have been increases in reverse peak direction trains (e.g., to Sacramento in the morning and to the Bay Area/San Jose in the afternoon), but the system continues to record "sustained losses in Placer County trains and overall losses at the Sacramento station," officials said.

To address ridership in Sacramento, morning trains coming into that station from Placer County and the Bay Area have been arriving five minutes earlier since July 15 to accommodate the longer distance from the new platforms to the Sacramento Regional Transit District's (SacRT) light-rail line. Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority and SacRT officials also are working to complete plans to move the light-train platform closer to the tunnel portal, which would shorten the transfer time between light rail, Capitol Corridor and Amtrak trains.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/24/2013