Saturday, April 27, 2013

Surfliner to increase its bicycle capacity

March performance results are available

I delayed in reporting March's figures and luckily it turns out that it was a good thing as the agenda for the May 2nd Technical Advisory Committee explains the downturn and gives some interesting other information.

The Surfliner's six month ridership increase was broken in March, but this may not have been an actual decrease. Apparently "This decline appears to be an anomaly in Amtrak’s reporting system due to e-Ticketing reconciliation," though I'm not entirely certain as to how that works and am open to suggestions. It does lead me to believe that April will be a return to the growth that we have been seeing over the past year.

More notably, Caltrans is working on increasing the bicycle capacity for the Surfliner, bringing it to 13 bikes per car, to be completed by July or August. This is accompanying the $5 charge and mandatory reservations for bicycles starting in June revealed with the new schedule. Hopefully there won't be any SNAFUs related to the Amfleet train set on the Surfliner (though this may be part of the reason for Comet cars on the San Joaquin).

With that in mind, this does have the potential to be a major revenue earner for the Surfliner. Assuming no bicycle capacity in the cafe car and one of the coaches is a Superliner, there should be room for 50 bicycles on board. Even if, on average, each train carries only 25 bicycles over its entire journey, that would still result in about a million dollars of revenue for the Surfliner, decreasing the total public subsidy required.



Ridership

Pacific Surfliner -4.1%
Coast Starlight +6.4%
Capital Corridor -4.7%
San Joaquin +7.6%
Amtrak +1.9%
Metrolink -1.3%
Coaster -4.9%

Note that Metrolink ridership is up on the Orange County Line, but down on the Ventura County Line.

Revenue

Pacific Surfliner +4.6%
Coast Starlight +6.2%
Capital Corridor -0.9%
San Joaquin +2.6%
Amtrak +8.1%

On time performance

LOSSAN-North 85.2%
LOSSAN-South 86.2%
LOSSAN Overall 87.3%
Metrolink OC 97.0%
Metrolink VC 94.6%
Coaster 98.6%

1 comment:

  1. The $5 service charge and the mandatory reservation will discourage monthly pass holders and regular bike commuters from riding Amtrak. I was very disappointed when I heard this news from a fellow bike commuter. I am a metrolink monthly pass holder who ride Amtrak as the only alternative once I miss the last Metrolink. This new fee is making bike commuting much more difficult.

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