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July 17, 2008
RIDERSHIP CONTINUES TO SOAR – RECORD INCREASES ON ALL THREE STATE-SUPPORTED TRAIN ROUTES
Sacramento –As gas prices soar, so does the number of people riding trains, Caltrans reported today.
June was a historic, record-breaking month for Amtrak California trains. More than half a million passengers traveled on the three state-supported services (Capitol Corridor, San Joaquins and Pacific Surfliner), the most passengers Amtrak California has ever carried in a single month.
The most significant increase was on the Amtrak San Joaquins service (San Francisco/Oakland-Sacramento-Bakersfield), where more than 96,000 passengers traveled the route, a 34 percent increase over June 2007.
Nearly 278,000 passengers rode the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains (San Diego-Los Angeles-San Luis Obispo), a rise of more than 19 percent compared to the same month last year. Ridership on the Capitol Corridor trains (San Jose-San Francisco/Oakland-Sacramento-Auburn) was almost 17 percent higher than last June.
“Intercity trains provide motorists welcome relief from high gas prices, they take vehicles off our congested highways, and they help improve our air quality,” said Caltrans Director Will Kempton. “Trains are a good transportation alternative for many Californians, and as gas prices continue to rise there will be an increasing demand for train service.”
Proposition 1B, the transportation bond championed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and approved by the legislature and voters in 2006, provides Caltrans $400 million to improve California’s intercity rail service, including $125 million to purchase more rail cars and locomotives to meet increasing ridership demand.
"We are gratified with the level of ridership," said Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority Managing Director Eugene Skoropowski. "June was our second highest ridership month ever, in spite of a major track renewal project that Union Pacific undertook on part of our corridor. The track work resulted in reduced train frequency, a mid-day bus bridge, and some service delays, yet ridership grew almost 17 percent. Now that we are back to reliable full service, we expect to see continued and sustained growth."
California has the largest state-supported intercity passenger rail program today, both in terms of dollars and riders. Caltrans provides about $80 million annually to Amtrak to operate three routes for the state. Ridership on these routes reached a record 5.4 million in fiscal year 2006-07.
Amtrak California Thruway motor coaches provide service to more than 175 additional destinations throughout California from the three state-supported routes.
Nationwide, Amtrak carried more than 2.5 million passengers in June, almost 12 percent more than the same period a year earlier. Many routes chalked up double-digit increases.
For more information about the train services, visit: