Caltrain Ridership Continues to Rise
From the Nobody Rides Trains in California department:
For 21 straight months, ridership is up at Caltrain and total ridership in April was the highest it has ever been during a non-summer month, according to a staff report that the Peninsula Joint Powers Board will hear today….
In April of this year, ridership climbed 12.1 percent over the same period last year. For the fiscal year, ridership is up 11 percent, according to a staff report to the JPB. Average weekday ridership in April was 45,928, the second highest monthly total ever for the transit agency. Its previous high was in July 2008 when it averaged 46,169 riders a day.
Farebox revenue in March was up by 18.3 percent over the same period last year. For the year, farebox revenue is up by 22.5 percent compared to last year, according to the staff report. In April, the agency recovered about $5.2 million from the farebox compared to $4.4 million in April last year. Revenue for the year is at $48 million compared to $39.5 million at the same period last year, according to the staff report.
The JPB just struck a deal with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the California High-Speed Rail Authority to split the cost to fund the electrification of the Caltrain tracks with a $1.5 billion price tag. The plan is to have the tracks electrified by 2020, nearly 10 years before the rail authority had originally planned.
When the tracks are modernized, Caltrain will be able to run significantly more trains on the tracks at less cost.
If you build it, they will ride. And if you build and fund high speed rail, more people will ride not just the bullet trains but also Caltrain.
This story hasn’t yet gotten play in some of the bigger media outlets in the state. We can guess Ralph Vartabedian at the LA Times will pretend this doesn’t exist. But it shows that demand for passenger rail service is there and once that demand is met, costs drop and revenues rise.
It’s also worth noting that Peninsula NIMBYs are fighting the agreement mentioned in that article that would leverage the HSR project to provide better Caltrain service to those communities. In other words, they’re fighting to stop higher ridership and opposing higher revenues.
Whatever is said about those opponents, we should always remember that they consistently and routinely oppose better, effective, high ridership passenger trains.