Caltrain Ridership Continues to Rise

Jun 7th, 2012 | Posted by

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.

  1. Nathanael
    Jun 7th, 2012 at 18:08

    We are into the phase of history where practically any rail line which stops in downtowns of cities will have large and growing demand.

    Demand just keeps going up and is going to keep going up. It’s becoming practically impossible for a passenger rail line to fail due to lack of demand.

    Even the Music City Star in Nashville, one of the most questionable and poorly thought out lines opened in recent decades and the lowest-ridership commuter line in the US, is seeing sharply increasing ridership (24% increases year-over-year).

    A number of commenters are now starting to discuss what will happen when passenger rail starts becoming profitable again. Even with the massive road subsidies still in place, the cost of alternatives to rail keeps going up, so the prices which rail riders will tolerate keep going up, and the demand goes up… but the cost to operate rail doesn’t go up.

    Let’s not be stupid. Let’s keep passenger rail as a public service rather than letting the privatizers get their hands on it. You know the moment it makes a profit, certain people will start demanding that it be sold off for pennies on the dollar, because they hate the idea that government could do anything profitable.

    jonathan Reply:

    We are into the econdphase of history where practically any …

    Nathanael Reply:

    True. There was a previous one.

  2. Clem
    Jun 7th, 2012 at 18:09

    HSR will not necessarily do wonders for Caltrain. It will bunch services, limit frequency, piss off cities, and consume the majority of the Transbay Center platform capacity. Blending severely cramps the expansion potential of Caltrain. But thanks for all the cash.

    flowmotion Reply:

    Another possibility: Caltrain will experience a huge ridership boom once it arrives at the downtown core, and there will be immediate demands to further improve service in the short term. The ‘blended’ approach allows for a range of incremental upgrades while avoiding the politically difficult stuff.

    Meanwhile, we can worry about HSR twenty years from now when (if) they find the funding to tunnel Pacheco.

    jonathan Reply:

    Perhaps so, but the design of the TTC platforms and approaches s so inept (not to say incompetnet) it’s really hard to see how to make that design meet growth above its (modest) targets.

    Go look at the relevant tags on Clem’s blog for some good studies and alternatives.

    flowmotion Reply:

    And Clem is right on, but I am implying that two out of three Transbay platforms won’t sit there unused for decades until HSR may or may not arrive. (As for the station throat, I can’t say.) Caltrain passengers and downtown interests will demand improved service in the meanwhile.

    (Amidst all the cheering for the latest and greatest HSR business plan, perhaps it went unnoticed that SF is nearly at the bottom of the list? It will be a long time.)

    The ‘blended plan’ was a well-executed punt, it will hopefully give a later generation of politicians/planners plenty of time to “do it right”.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Where do you get 2032+?

    flowmotion Reply:

    Best case SF-to-LA scenario from the business plan is 2029. However, there’s no HSR money in the next federal transportation bill, so push it back a couple years. Even 2032 sounds too optimistic.

    Really, it has taken a huge load off my mind. There’s no use quibbling over the engineering details of something that won’t be needed for another 20-30 years.

    In the meanwhile, Caltrain can take over the TBT’s basement. Good Caltrain service is much more important to the local SF-SV tech industry nexus than HSR anyway.

    joe Reply:

    Plan B
    Do nothing.

    Plan C
    Issue residential automotive stickers and ticket/toll non city residents.
    BRT on El Camino.

    Plan D
    Dissolve Caltrain.
    Create a coop to staff the service.
    Open source the schedule.
    Buy equipment on ebay.
    Apply Homoeopathic engineering techniques.

    Plan D

    flowmotion Reply:

    I agree, Plan D sounds like it has self-driving electric taxicabs and cheerful sounding background music.

    Otherwise, there’s Plans B, A, R, and T.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    What is a “homoeopathic engineering technique”???

    joe Reply:

    German physician Samuel Hahnemann first stated the basic principle of homeopathy in 1796, known as the “law of similars”. This principle is: “let like be cured by like.” Homeopathic remedies are prepared by serial dilution with shaking by forceful striking on an elastic body, which homeopaths term “succussion”. Each dilution followed by succussion is assumed to increase the effectiveness. Homeopaths call this process “potentization”. Dilution often continues until none of the original substance remains.[6] Apart from the symptoms, homeopaths examine aspects of the patient’s physical and psychological state,[7] then homeopathic reference books known as “repertories” are consulted, and a remedy is selected based on the totality of symptoms.

    Homoeopathic design
    HSR can be diluted to conventional rail
    Conventional Rail is then diluted to express Bus service
    Express Bus service is diluted to greyhound
    We have greyhound – therefore we have the most cost effective transportation system.

    Homoeopathic Engineering – boils down to a guy with a paint can making a line at just the right spot to fix traffic congestion.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Clem (and others)

    The “bookend” approach that CalTrain now endorses was not what the original MOU was going to bring CalTrain. Under that proposal, dedicated tracks would have been used for HSR, CalTrain would get its supposedly needed electrification. The new plan, shoves HSR onto CalTrain tracks and will severely diminish the quality and volume of service they will be able to supply.

    But neither CalTrain nor MetroLink believe they have to worry about HSR. They just want funds from Prop 1A and in their view, HSR will never arrive. That’s not what they are saying in public, but that is the grand scheme. That is the grand scheme that Kempton is playing as the head of the Peer review group; praising the “bookend” approach, whereas his own board’s employer, the OCTA, votes against HSR.

    Just the other day in D.C., the FY13 specifically removed all funds for HSR. High Speed Rail is a dirty subject in Washington DC; it is going nowhere. The California project will get no further funding from that source and they need $50 billion more.

    Lots of luck Gov. Brown and Chair Richard.

    joe Reply:

    Just the other day in D.C., the FY13 specifically removed all funds for HSR. High Speed Rail is a dirty subject in Washington DC; it is going nowhere.

    Obama Admin is committed to talking dirty.

    Federal Railroad Administration chief Joseph Szabo said Monday that President Obama is unwavering in his support for high-speed rail projects.

    If you liked Obama-Care, wait until you ride Obama-rail.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Obamacare hasn’t actually happened yet. We’ll see whether it helps or not in 2014.

    The few provisions which went in early are *all* good.

    As for rail, the US Congress opposes it at its own peril. The “throw the bums out” mood means that the only way the current Republicans can retain control over the House is by stealing elections (they might do that).

    VBobier Reply:

    Poor Scott down in Florida isn’t having a lot of luck doing that, as all 67 election supervisors as a group have said NO to this, of those 67, 37 are Republicans, there’s hope & integrity still in Republicans.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Local-level Republicans are often very decent people. They just haven’t realized what happened to their national leadership. Well, I can understand that; it’s pretty hard to comprehend how bad it’s gotten at the national level.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s time for the local level Democrats to start asking why the local level Republicans are supporting the batshit insane national level candidates and what parts of the national agenda they support.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t know. The local level Republicans I know of are the types who yell at ferret owners on the radio.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Really? Good grief, what sort of problem do the Repugnant Ones have with ferret owners?

    They’re not a pet I would have, but I’ve seen them, and they are clean and playful, and like a cat, have their own graceful movement.

    I wonder if we waited too long to get rid of that leaded gasoline. . .

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    The funny thing is,, I think a ferret would be a most appropriate pet for some of the crazies on the right. Ferrets are closely related to weasels, you know. . .

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I have a weird brain; people saying things, or me thinking of things, makes other things come up. In this case, it’s a bit about exotic pets.

    One of the people I’ve done a payroll audit on is a lawyer, a female attorney who used to work in the capitol city. The workload down there was high enough that most attorneys could specialize a bit; this particular lady worked with child abuse cases as a prosecutor.

    Her office used to have a cage with a huge tarantula in it for an office pet. Those big spiders get live food in the form of crickets.

    The attorney would name the crickets for her opponent lawyers. . .

    And the Republicans in Alon’s area have a problem with ferrets?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not my current area, but my previous area.

    joe Reply:

    Point is the Pres. pushed and got it into law. HSR is next.

    nick Reply:

    President Obama believes as i do that his healthcare reforms and high speed rail are both necessary in a modern and tolerant advanced economy for economic as well as social reasons. I find it astounding that anyone wants to deny 30 million fellow citizens the most basic healthcare. Also, americans spend more per head on private healthcare then other countries spend collectively per head on state funded healthcare.

    i think we need to look for the best policies in each situation be it defense health or transport etc and not get bogged down in right or left wing dogma. if a republican president were elected this year and just reversed the bills obama has passed and vica versa, or tried to push his bills through until the electorate makes him a lame duck too in 2014 you will just have continued paralysis and indecision. This is the major drawback of the checks and balances in the u.s. constitution. At some point politicians will have to try to work together which was maybe the intent of the founding fathers. Those in the tea party dont seem to realise that the nature of politics is compromise and their refusal to accept this may come back to bite romney in 2012.

  3. Paul Druce
    Jun 7th, 2012 at 18:26

    Meanwhile Surfliner ridership dropped ten percent, though there was still a revenue rise.

    Nathanael Reply:

    There were service disruptions.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Nope, and it’s a larger drop than when there were extensive disruptions. Amtrak and Caltrans have no idea why there is the drop, but it is predominately non-revenue ridership that is dropping.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Oh, so this was month compared to same month of previous year rather than year-to-date to year-to-date?

    (I remembered there being disruptions sometime after January 1.)

    “Non-revenue ridership” dropping. That’s…weird. That barely makes sense given that everyone buys tickets. Is this less use of 10-ride tickets, less use of Rail2Rail, stuff like that? That kind of makes sense given the economic depression, less “long range commuting”.

  4. J. Wong
    Jun 7th, 2012 at 22:50

    O.T., I’m feeling pessimistic. What do you think will happen to the economy and the deficit if the Republicans keep the House and gain both the Senate and the White House? The answer is: We’ll have a Depression and the deficit will skyrocket as they madly cut taxes to no effect.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The deficit will go up. This will provide Keynesian stimulus and make the economy better, though at much lower pace than if they’d increased spending instead.

    The GOP is not the VSPs of Germany and Britain. It doesn’t believe in austerity; it believes in making the economy worse when the other party is in charge.

    Beta Magellan Reply:

    Given the amount of entitlement rhetoric this cycle, I’m pretty sure they’re going to cut spending for non-Republican-voting constituencies as well, which will definitely slow the pace of improvements some more; at the state level, the recent crop of Republicans has also been “broadening the tax base” (i. e. making it more regressive) to pay for their priorities—although this isn’t necessary at the federal level, I could see it happening.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Making the tax base more regressive makes for a Depression.

    As for transferring all the spending away from “blue” areas to “red” areas, that’s a plan which can backfire. Secession talk isn’t just for Southern slavers.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Does anyone outside contrarian New Yorkers and Californians ever bring it up? In e.g. New England I haven’t seen any such talk; Boston is more Real American than New York is.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The debt going up won’t necessarily mean Keynesian stimulus. If you cut $1 in 1.5x multiplier spending and add $2 in 0.5x tax subsidies to wealth accumulation, the structural deficit goes up while the stimulus effect goes down, and because of the lost stimulus, the economy slows, tax receipts drop, and the cyclical deficit also increases.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I sincerely doubt they can cut spending this much. Last time they tried privatizing Social Security, they ended up with egg on their face and a Democratic victory in the next midterm election.

    Most likely they’ll find an unpopular program to cut a few billion dollars a year from (I think the transit part of the transportation bill is $12 billion a year), and cut taxes by a few hundred billion per year.

  5. Donk
    Jun 7th, 2012 at 23:28

    What the article fails to mention is that ridership is primarily a function of the economy and resulting car traffic in the Bay Area. There must be more jobs and worse traffic than April of last year.

    Andy M. Reply:

    But being the second best month ever for ridership, this would imply the economy is at its second best ever. Really?

    joe Reply:

    Not really that good an economy. When it recovers, the Peninsula roads will be far worse. Also google uses a shuttle service to offload car trips – if they stopped the roads will be way more difficult in the Sout bay.

    academic papers on car vs train show shifts to the other mode with increases in fare/gas prices – gasoline hikes push people to rail.

    Alternative things to do on public transit make it more appealing. 90’s I’d read a newspaper, now I use my iPad and do email when I ride. I see far better work/shuttle connections at the stops.

    Debt; College grads have massive debt. Far more than I had when I got out – it’s probably less desirable to buy and service a car and pay down 30-50K undergrad / masters degree debt and save to buy a home.

    flowmotion Reply:

    The Bay Area tech economy is really hot right now. Certainly as good as its been since about 2001.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Indeed, they are partying like it’s eighteen forty….nine!

    Billy Reply:

    Does it matter why people are riding? That’s exactly why transit systems exist, to help people move around efficiently. When mass transit is a more effective way to get around, people will use it, just ask Japan or NYC or…
    On another note, it’s really going to take at least 8 years to electrify CalTrain? Does that seem like a long time to anyone else? I’m sure there’s lots of pieces to that puzzle I don’t know about though.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Have to find places to put the poles. That requires knocking down trees, etc…. stuff people care about.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Also, have to check the overhead clearance of every bridge, etc.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Anything that hangs over the Caltrain ROW can be removed. They’ll scream and holler and jump up and down about how the lovely invasive weed species trees are being removed but if Caltrain wants to remove trees they can.

    synonymouse Reply:

    That would have been accomplished in 1991 if BART had not torpedoed it. Yeah – PB.

  6. Gianny
    Jun 7th, 2012 at 23:43

    Desert Express and Los Angeles MTA Signed agreement to add train to Palmdale.

    VBobier Reply:

    Nice find there Gianny.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Just blinking unbelievable. Taxpayers in Weed will see their money going to help send Angelenos to Sin City to drop their rent money.

    California really does need to be split up.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Ya know, @syn, I kind of think Weed is getting more money from So. Cal. than they pay in taxes, sort of how all the “blue” areas of the U.S. pay and the “red” areas receive even though the latter are the ones who complain about taxes.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Why would Northern California want to lose the political representation bestowed by the South given that now it is once again the economic and political heart of the State?

    It makes more sense for the Golden State to secede that it does to split up.

    joe Reply:

    The DesertXpress loan would be the largest in the program’s history. It would have an interest rate equivalent to the yield of U.S. Treasury securities and a 35-year term.

    Developers would put up $1.4 billion in private capital, and government funds would not be used to operate the project.

    Free money.
    The Treasury yield for 10 year bonds on 6/1 was 1.47% – that is a rate below inflation, not historical inflation rates but today’s low rate of inflation.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Well, I’d rather give it to them than to Citibank, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Wells Fargo, etc…

    Sigh. What a world.

    Donk Reply:

    At least those banks are able to pay back their loans.

    flowmotion Reply:

    The ‘good’ news for HSRA supporters is the High Desert Corridor Freeway, which will mean lots of new lovely housing developments and big box retail around Palmdale. Perhaps those ridership projections weren’t so wack after all.

    California Taxpayer Reply:

    Well first, the good news is that is how a project like this, and the resulting improved mobility, helps stimulate economic activity, which is sorely needed in that area. Second, if you don’t like the “type” of development choices… single family homes, big box retail, or what have you, you can’t blame the project. Those decisions are made by local planners elected by local citizens and are based on demand. People still want single family homes. People still like shopping in big box stores. People like nice new shopping centers. People like nice new freeways.

    Now some people, who live in ideological bubbles, deem these things to be “bad” but they are generally insulated from the real life that most americans, most californians actually live.

    The high desert cities are free to develop any kind of future they wish. If the folks up there want a green, sustainable high density, solar powered, vegan, future, it is within their power to elect people who will shape that future. If they prefer stucco and costco, then they’ll go with that. It has nothing to do with hsr or desert express.

    MarkB Reply:

    Don’t start counting McMansions before they’re hatched. California’s smart growth law (SB 375, 2008) will probably prevent most of the worst manifestations of sprawl.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Now some people, who live in ideological bubbles, deem these things to be “bad” but they are generally insulated from the real life that most americans, most californians actually live.

    That real life that people are used to is also its own kind of bubble, with the range of what people imagine to be possible substantially limited to what the current system of rules allows and the current mix of subsidies encourages.

    But current real estate markets say that walkable neighborhoods and residential development with substantial alternatives to driving are valued at a premium to entirely car-dependent outer suburban development. Developers are going to find a way to capitalize on those premiums. And as they do, people’s imaginations as to what is possible will begin to shift.

    VBobier Reply:

    With the scarcity and expense of water in the High Desert? Housing developments and big box retail around Palmdale aren’t going to happen, unless you have a link showing developers have secured what they need to do this with? Otherwise get lost, water in the High Desert isn’t cheap, so no development like You mention will sprout around the Freeway and/or HSR.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    This is where you get into the insane conspiracy theories.

    There is a delivery mechanism in the Los Angeles Aqueduct that could fuel some population growth. However, diverting that water (which is relatively scarce because the LA Aqueduct is the oldest and smallest one) would require you balance it on paper with water from somewhere else.

    The likely answer there is the Kern Valley Water Bank, which could be replenished by, wait for it, the Peripheral Canal.

    The better question: if the High Desert Corridor is supposed to relieve port traffic, why are they threading it through Victorville?

    Donk Reply:

    Can somebody explain to me how the leg from Palmdale to Victorville is estimated to cost $1.5B? They are already working on building the High Desert Corridor, a highway, between the two cities, and the line will be along that ROW. This should not be much more than laying down track on flat ground across the desert.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s 80 km.

    Nathanael Reply:

    And subgrade work for HSR is substantial; you can’t just drop ties on the sand, unfortunately.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And it’s cheaper than a similarly sized road would be…. nice round number to remember is 25 million dollars a lane mile.

    VBobier Reply:

    The ground isn’t totally flat between PMD and Victimville, ;), but then You’d wouldn’t know that unless You’d lived in the area for years as I have.

    Spokker Reply:

    How do you live there? I went out there for an astronomy thing and I saw a coyote and I went home.

    Donk Reply:

    “Antonovich, a Republican, has been one of the leading advocates for rail in Southern California”

    What a joke. He has been one of the most anti-rail guys in Southern California. He is a huge supporter of the Foothill extension, only because it goes thru his district. Now he is going to go lobbying in DC to push for more free money for a HSR line between two hellholes in the middle of the desert. But of course he thinks the Purple Line and Expo lines are boondoggles, even though they would directly benefit his constituents who commute to the Westside. This guy is the most predictable, transparent politician I have seen.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Antonovich simply wants to get as much money for his District as possible. Given the interest that other politicians have in rail, he can use the Foothill Extension and High Desert Corridor as leverage for approving more expensive urban projects like the Subway to the Sea and Crenshaw.

    Mark Reply:

    Actually Donk, if you have been paying attention, Antonovich has been a major force at SCAG, Metrolink and Metro to push for service improvements and track upgrades for Metrolink, LOSSAN, etc. you should look at the motions he has gotten through Metro and SCAG. I have been following this for awhile now and the guy gets it. He was the lead pushing for the blended approach and MOU with the HSR Authority, the pass through tracks at Union Station and a new station at the Burbank Airport. Plus he saved the Regional Connector from being pushed back about 10 years, saved Palmdale as a station city for HSR (sorry Syno) and forced Metro to pony up the money to buy the option Rotem cars before they expired.

    You sound like a pissed off Westside liberal who can’t stand to see a Republican get credit for being ahead of the curve on rail issues. I for one will embrace any Republican who shows this much interest in high speed rail and upgrading Metrolink and Amtrak.

    Roger Christensen Reply:

    I know plenty of Westside liberals who would be thrilled to see Republicans stand up for rail. Where are they in Congress now? And I remember when Antonivich was known as Monorail Mike for his failed effort to put a monorail on the Ventura Freeway. Then there was his alliance with liberal mayoral candidate Tom Hayden to kill the Red Line. He still wants to kill the high priority Purple Line and refers to efforts to extend Measure R as “gang rape”.
    I must say that I am very pleased with his efforts to bring HSR to Palmdale.

    Donk Reply:

    Ok, thanks for the clarification on Antonovich’s history with rail support. My problem with the guy is that there is no logic to his arguments – he supports boondoggle projects in his district, but then throws around the word boondoggle at everything else outside of his district. You have to have some rational thought when you are in charge with planning the future of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. Gloria Molina is worse – she has absolutely no rational thought – just emotion and the race card.

    BTW, I used to be a Republican. I would be happy if both parties supported rail infrastructure projects.

    But you are right that I am a pissed Westsider – people commute from all over the county to work in the Westside – therefore the entire county should recognize that it is more important to have rail infrastructure that actually connects people to important job centers on the Westside than to build useless welfare projects to appease Gloria Molina, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Mike Anotonovich.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    The real problem living in the “Westside” isn’t the lack of transit funding… it’s the unrealistic expectation to make it the largest job center in the L.A. area even though the infrastructure can’t support it.

    I have no problems with the Purple Line extension and Expo as proposed…Wilshire and and Culver City have the requisite density.

    But the type of projects that get green lighted elsewhere: massive buildings at intersections like Bundy and Olympic…etc….all lay at the feet of the City Councilmen who approve these zoning variances.

    Moreover, the Westside only has all these jobs because of white flight away from the city’s urban core. In the end, more progress is going to be made by moving big congestion centers like the V.A. and Federal Building somewhere else, having more UCLA students and employees take transit, and building Crenshaw (yes Crensahaw) to make the trip from LAUS to LAX faster.

    Spokker Reply:

    Mark, Antonovich doesn’t agree with everything I believe so he’s an anti-rail RETHUGLICAN wah wah wah.

    Spokker Reply:

    My comment on the high desert corridor project really sealed the deal on this, I think.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Palmdale-Deserted Express scandal is a gift to the anti-CHSRA uprising.

    Wait until the voters of overall California realize that California tax dollars have been appropriated by Vegas interests, with Jerry’s help.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Calling Dan Walters.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    That article won’t happen until Harry Reid leaves the US Senate. It’s like when they used to call Joe Biden the third Senator from Pennsylvania…Reid is the 3rd Senator from California.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Tomlach told me he considers you personally responsible for Prop 1A too….

    Spokker Reply:

    All this time I have been working behind the scenes, pulling the puppet strings.

    Or maybe…?

  7. Jeff Carter
    Jun 8th, 2012 at 04:57

    I know that some here and some at Caltrain don’t want to admit this but increasing gas prices have a lot to do with increasing ridership.

    joe Reply:

    Increasing fares has a lot to do with Caltrain losing rider-ship.

    The gas tax hasn’t changed but Caltrain fares increase. What if gas taxes mirrored fare increases for public transportation?

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    What if gas taxes just mirrored the cost of maintaining the road system? They’re way to low with any sort of honest accounting.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    No, actually they are perfectly fine for simply maintaining the system. It’s the constant capital expenditures for expansion that are killing the fund.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    No, they aren’t ~ they never were, when you take out the cross-subsidy from vehicle miles driven on roads not qualifying for gas tax funding, and as vehicle fuel efficiency per axle-pound rises, they are falling further behind.

    joe Reply:

    Paul’s making a counter-factual argument –


    According to cumulative data[1] by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) the number of motor vehicles has also increased steadily since 1960, only stagnating once in 1997 and declining from 1990 to 1991. Otherwise the number of motor vehicles has been rising by an estimated 3.69 million each year since 1960 with the largest annual growth between 1998 and 1999 as well as between 2000 and 2001 when the number of motor vehicles in the United States increased by eight million.[1] Since the study by the FHA the number of vehicles has increased by approximately eleven million, one of the largest recorded increases. The largest percentage increase was between the years of 1972 and 1973 when the number of cars increased by 5.88%.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Gas taxes come nowhere close to maintaining the existing road system as it is now.

    The existing road system of 1948, sure, they would maintain that.

    joe Reply:

    You mean 1848

    BruceMcF Reply:

    I take it you mean 1948 National, State, County and Township highways, cross-subsidized by city streets maintained on some mix of local property, sales and/or income taxes.

    And, yeah, if enough of those township and county highways were gravel rather than asphalt roads, current gas taxes including that cross subsidy seem like they might be close.

    When including interstate highways, and restricting to gas taxes collected by vehicle miles on those interstate, national, state, county and township highways, it wouldn’t even cover actual maintenance spending, never mind the ever-growing maintenance backlog.

    Reedman Reply:

    If you combine the gasoline excise tax and the gasoline sales tax, it is essentially equal to the total cost of maintaining the roads. There are difficulties in doing an exact comparison, but in rough numbers, people driving cars and trucks are paying their way. Just like airport users. If you look at the Golden Gate Transit District budget, the drivers paying tolls to cross the Golden Gate Bridge are heavily subsidizing the buses and ferries.

    joe Reply:

    Since these gasoline taxes have not increased – you are telling us that road maintenance costs are fixed and not subject to inflation.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But you have to deduct the gas taxes received from vehicle miles driven on unfunded streets, and count the cost in terms of the maintenance required, rather than the maintenance performed.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    What gasoline sales tax?

    Paul Druce Reply:

    California adds 2.25% state sales tax and any local sales taxes to gasoline sales in addition to the excise taxes. Used to be the full state sales tax, but that got converted to a cents figure during budget balancing shenanigans a couple years ago.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    I’d assume that the “gasoline sales tax” is the portion of the gasoline tax that is a diversion from the general fund due to exemption from state and local sales tax, and the “gasoline excise tax” that portion of the gas tax in excess of the state and local sales tax rate ~ often a very slender amount, and in one or more states less than the federal gas tax, since the exemption from state and local sales taxes is greater than the amount of state gas taxes.

  8. VBobier
    Jun 8th, 2012 at 06:57

    Of course freeway building is still going on as seen Here from this photo from January 10th 2010. Posting a picture here would be great, but I’ll preface the link with its own text:

    Bridge to nowhere CSX grain train G732 with a rare standard cab leader is dwarfed by the new highway 113 bridge south of Emerson. Once the highway is complete it will serve as a bypass around Cartersvile and Emerson(, Georgia, USA).

    Emphasis is mine on the last part only.

  9. Reality Check
    Jun 8th, 2012 at 11:49

    Caltrain looks to bolster service in Palo Alto
    Agency responds to growing demand by adding six trains, more Palo Alto stops

    Spurred by a swelling number of commuters, Caltrain plans to bolster its weekday service by adding six trains and having more existing trains stop in Palo Alto.


    The proposal, which the agency’s board of directors is tentatively scheduled to vote on next month, would also add an additional stop to 12 existing trains. Six of these would stop at Palo Alto’s downtown station and six others would stop in Sunnyvale. The new stops would add about two minutes to a trip on the baby-bullet train. […] many of the existing trains currently operate near or beyond capacity. In many cases, riders stand in the trains’ vestibules or in aisles. The high number of bicyclists also adds to the congestion.


    The Palo Alto committee was generally supportive of the proposal, though it urged Caltrain to take a closer look at another part of Palo Alto — the Caltrain stop at California Avenue. While the University Avenue stop is the second-busiest station on Caltrain’s line and will likely continue to get the bulk of service increases, city officials argued that the California Avenue stop is increasingly important because of its proximity to Stanford Research Park, residential neighborhoods and the California Avenue Business District.

    Elizabeth Alexis, co-founder of the local rail-watchdog group Californians Advocating for Responsible Rail Design also urged Caltrain to consider adding service to California Avenue.

    “I think it’s great that we’re improving the schedule for downtown Palo Alto. It’s critical. Cars are packed,” Alexis said. “But California Avenue — somewhere it got left behind.”

    Elizabeth Reply:

    If you want Cal Ave service (it has the highest ridership of all non-baby bullet stops), today is the last official day to send in a comment about schedule changes

    Anyone’s thoughts about how you would increase service levels at Cal Ave would be appreciated.

    proposed schedule is

    latest ridership data is

    joe Reply:

    Support shuttle service from CA to Stanford. Reduces traffic on crowed University / El Camino junction.

    CA st. is a stop closer from the south, reduces rider-ship use on the busy PA station and the V does not crowd the PA station – it uses different streets to shuttle people around the campus.

    This additional service would also help businesses along CA St.

    In addition, we car pool and sometimes take 101 to Oregon express-way to California St. as a drop off. We’ll use that shuttle V to get the last leg and not deal with driving on PA streets. Problem is the V is not that frequent. Additional service would, IMHO, justify more V service and reduce congestion at PA/University.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I would increase service levels at Cal Avenue by four-tracking the corridor, allowing for proper local and express service.

    …but you knew that.

    RobBob Reply:

    It’s even easier than that, change the platforms to level boarding in order to decrease station dwell time. I bet you could add an additional stop at Cal Ave and Palo Alto without having to alter the SF to SJ total time.

    JBaloun Reply:

    Based on posts and comments on Clem’s blog, and now that Caltrain is gaining ridership, what would be the best bang for the buck, or low hanging fruit improvements to Caltrain operations to make the best service at a low cost? Clockface schedule? Mid-line overtake? Implementing an optimized service pattern such as suggested by Clem’s metrics? Better service with existing equipment would attract even more riders

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Mid line overtake … four tracks between Redwood and Hillsdale would do it … would enable both clockface scheduling and an optimized service pattern.

    Matthew Reply:

    They should fix access to California Ave. Eliminate that extremely roundabout underpass trip to get to the northbound side. Especially if you are coming from Alma, then it’s a long loopy walk to get to SF-bound trains.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    They should fix access to California Ave

    Perhaps they shouldn’t have fucked it up, deliberately, with total foreknowledge of what they were doing, using $35 million of your tax dollars.

    Death is too kind a fate for anybody at Caltrain.

    joe Reply:

    Another death wish.
    What a horribly creepy thing to write.

    William Reply:

    The underpass is right at the middle of the platforms at California Avenue, so I don’t think that’s a big “roundabout”.

    Reality Check Reply:

    I’m totally with Richard on this one. Regardless of what you (@William) think, it could hardly be a bigger roundabout since the overwhelming majority of riders come & go via the California Ave. end of the station. That Caltrain didn’t work out with the city how to simultaneously improve widen and/or rebuild the Alma pedestrian underpass to directly (or at least more directly) connect to the northbound platform is a travesty.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Totally with Richard? So you agree that mere execution is insufficient punishment for people at Caltrain not working out with the city “how to simultaneously improve widen and/or rebuild the Alma pedestrian underpass to directly (or at least more directly) connect to the northbound platform”?

    joe Reply:

    This is criminal – right? “about 5 seconds of walking time per six inches of unnecessary excavation.”

    BTW Today Palo Alto has a new plan for improving the ROW corridor and it’s not at all in sync with HSR becuase they city is against HSR and refuses to make any good of the HSR project at this time.
    The report, which the City Council commissioned in 2010, was sparked by California’s proposed high-speed rail project at a time when the council and many in the community at large worried about the implications of the new system, which is slated to use the Caltrain tracks. The council, which officially opposes the proposed high-speed rail system, decided to pursue the study to articulate Palo Alto’s own vision for the Caltrain corridor.

    Gilroy did a study and made recommendations for HSR and the UP/Caltrain ROW but this was done working WITH the CAHSRA.

    nick Reply:

    why dont they play a different CARD and just call it CAHSR – Californians Against HSR.

  10. Reality Check
    Jun 8th, 2012 at 12:15

    Bruce Nestande: Give us a new vote on bullet train
    High-speed-rail authority has broken the deal voters approved in 2008.


    Unfortunately, the rewriting of the voter-approved 2008 high-speed rail initiative elevates that deception to the most egregious violation ever of the initiative process. The proposed action by the authority to do whatever they want at whatever cost, notwithstanding a ballot measure that defined a specific project with defined costs, is inappropriate.

    What now? Start over. With the $500 million already spent in planning the project, the Legislature should develop a high-speed rail plan that conforms to reality regarding service, routes, schedule and costs. The validated plan would be submitted to the voters. This basic honesty would be refreshing, and well-received.

    Development of high-speed rail is not a one-time opportunity. Such is not the case regarding the lives of our young people in need of a quality education and assistance to the truly needy. Their lives can’t be put on hold.

    Let’s reaffirm the integrity of the initiative process and get our priorities straight.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Corrected link: Give us a new vote on bullet train

    VBobier Reply:

    Bunch of FUD, something to go into a Trash Bin.

    J. Wong Reply:

    The same could be said about Prop. 8. Give us a new vote! In fact, maybe we should have a new initiative that requires any passed initiative to be revoted on every 5 years. Prop. 13 here we come!

    VBobier Reply:

    A two fer, I like…

    synonymouse Reply:

    For instance the BART taxation districts?

  11. fake irishman
    Jun 8th, 2012 at 12:19

    A general question about that FRA loan to Desert Express: I know it’s generally been underused in the past, but we’re starting to see that program used more and more. (California teamed up with Illinois, Michigan and Missouri for a couple hundred million dollar loan to buy equipment for their state routes and now this Desert Express thing.) I would imagine that CHSRA would have this on their radar as matching funding for its own bonds. It seems that a couple billion from that pot could go a long way toward closing the Palmdale-Bakersfield Gap, even if no more direct federal grants are forthcoming. And taking out loans at 1.47 percent interest seems a pretty good deal. Comments…?

    Peter Reply:

    Wasn’t Amtrak using this loan program to fund its new fleet of Horizon cars and the Siemens ACS-64 locomotives, too?

    Nathanael Reply:

    The new electric Amtrak locomotives, yes, those are RRIF-loan funded. They’re expected to pay for themselves in greater reliability.

    Amtrak isn’t buying new Horizons (that’s an older fleet), it’s buying new Viewliners, and it funded that out of unexpectedly high ticket revenue on a ‘pay as you go’ basis, not through RRIF. The states are getting new “bilevel corridor equipment” (Surfliners), and I believe a little bit of that is funded by an RRIF loan, but most of it is from ARRA money or state money.

    Other RRIF loans are listed here:

    Most of the loans are entirely for freight, but there’s one there for SMART (with freight benefiting too), one for Denver Union Station, and I think the one for Iowa Interstate has some benefit for Quad Cities passenger service.

    There’s a cap on the size of the RRIF loan program (at any given time; it’s a revolving fund), which means that DesertXPress would eat up a sizeable portion of the funds.

    Peter Reply:

    Amtrak awards $298.1 million contract to CAF USA for 130 [single level] rail cars

    These are not being paid for through RRIF.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Those are the new Viewliners, yes.

    Peter Reply:

    Silly me, I saw the “liners” part and thought Superliners. My bad.

    Alan F Reply:

    Amtrak has mainly been using the extra funds from the annual operating grants to cover the progress payments on the order for 130 Viewliners. The net operating loss has been less than the annual subsidy in recent years due to both increased ticket revenue and holding costs down. Amtrak keeps asking every year the past 3-4 years for direct capital grants to buy new rolling stock, but has not gotten directed funding from Congress. So the 130 Viewliners (and a possible exercise of part of the 70 car option) are being paid for out of revenue and the operating grants. Which is good because when those cars are delivered, there will be no debt service payments on them. That likely won’t be the case for the large orders for up to 700 single level cars, ~250 diesel locomotives, and 250-300 Superliner I replacements that need to be placed in the next few years.

    Amtrak will be taking out a loan to pay for the 40 Acela coach cars expected to be officially ordered soon. The loan is likely to be a RRIF loan in the range of $200 million, but I don’t think that is publicly confirmed. (The funds for the 40 Acela coach cars will also cover the upgrade of the Acela maintenance sheds to handle 10 car long trainsets).

    BruceMcF Reply:

    So if they could get 1 sleeper and 1 dining car for the Cardinal, and if one baggage/dorm frees up a baggage car from another service, they could start the daily Cardinal, replacing the Hoosier, and substantially increasing farebox recovery.

    If they could get 3 baggage/dormitory cars and pass 2 baggage cars off to services that require more baggage cars, they could also have more sleeper revenue available due to no longer having to use some of the sleeper space for crew dorms.

    jim Reply:

    Amtrak’s priorities aren’t that clear. It’s likely that the highest priority is replacing legacy diners and baggage cars on the trains that run along the NEC since the legacy cars can’t handle 125 mph. But after that it’s murky: more cars on the Florida routes, more cars on the NY-Atlanta section of the Crescent, through cars to Philadelphia and New York on the Capitol Ltd exchanged with the Pennsylvanian, simply retiring some of the most worn out viewliners (or sending them for major overhaul to Beech Grove). Making the Cardinal daily is probably fairly high priority since everyone seems to agree that Indiana won’t fund the Hoosier State, but there’s probably internal disagreements within Amtrak.

    Alan F Reply:

    It is not that difficult to learn about Amtrak’s plans for the new CAF Viewliners. First, the order is for 25 baggage-dorms, 25 diners, 25 sleeper cars along with 55 baggage cars. So each single level LD train in the east will get a baggage-dorm car for the crew which will free up revenue space in the current sleeper cars. Each single level LD train will also get a new diner car in place of the Heritage diner. The 25 additional sleepers will allow a 3rd sleeper car to be assigned to the Crescent, Silver Meteor, and a second sleeper car to the Cardinal. It would likely allow a 4th sleeper car to be assigned to the Silver Meteor or Lake Shore Limited for peak season travel demand periods. As you noted, Amtrak is also planning to add sleeper and coach through cars to the Pennsylvanian to be passed on the Capitol Limited for routing to Chicago. Amtrak upper management has also publicly stated that they are also planning to restore a sleeper car to the #66/#67 overnight NE Regionals. Easier to do all this however if Amtrak buys 5-10 more sleepers from CAF under the 70 car option in the contract.

    There are no plans to retire any of the current 50 Viewliner sleepers, because for one, they are among the youngest cars in Amtrak’s fleet. The plan is to overhaul and modify the 50 Viewliners to have the same configuration as the 25 new CAF Viewliner sleepers, but if Amtrak’s annual funding gets cut, easy project to postpone if they have to.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Swapping out, then ~ one of the new diners to the NEC releases one legacy diner to the Cardinal, one of the new baggage car dormer to the NEC, releases one legacy baggage car to the Cardinal, one of the new sleepers for the the Capitol Ltd. releases one legacy sleeper to the Cardinal.

    Even with crew occupying potential revenue sleeper berths, it still is a substantial expansion of sleeper berths from the middle toward both side, because of the daily as opposed to tri-weekly schedule.

    That makes pushing the Cardinal to a daily one of the easiest ways to polish up farebox recovery in the system ~ it pushes operating cost up by around 5%, and revenue up by well over 50% and eliminates one laggard from the Regional Corridor list entirely.

    jim Reply:

    The Cardinal is a NEC train.

    Alan F Reply:

    The Cardinal has a baggage car. The “legacy” diner cars you refer to, aka the Heritage diner cars, will be retired from service as the 25 diner cars from the CAF order are delivered and enter service. The Cardinal is slated to get a baggage dorm, 2 sleepers, and a full service diner car for each trainset once enough of the CAF order is delivered and qualified for revenue service. That will greatly expand the number of roomettes and bedrooms available on the Cardinal which will indeed increase revenue for the train.

    See my post below on what is preventing the Cardinal from going to daily service. The 3 day a week Cardinal takes 2 trainsets, a daily Cardinal only 3 trainsets. Amtrak reportedly could put together enough cars to run a daily Cardinal right now if they needed to.

    The NEC is a corridor some of the single level LD trains run part of their route over, not a train.

    Alan F Reply:

    It is not equipment that keeps the Cardinal from going to daily service, but instead it is the single track Buckingham Branch (BB) line in VA and, reportedly, capacity constraints on the CSX route in WV to OH due to the increased coal export train traffic to Newport News. Virginia is providing 70% of the funds for approx $25 million of track repair and signal upgrades to the BB line from East Gordonville to Clifton Forge to be spent in incremental upgrades through FY2015, so the line will see significant improvements with elimination of a lot of slow orders and much better track in the next 3 years. However, the longest siding on the 116 miles of track is 5700 feet with most in the 4000 ft range. CSX sends 8000 ft long empty coal trains westbound on the line heading back from Newport News. If a CSX coal train is on the line, it has no siding to pull over to, so the eastbound Cardinal has to pull over on a siding and wait for the slow coal train to pass. The westbound Cardinal fares better because it is going with the traffic, but still gets stuck behind a slow coal train. Which results in the lousy on-time performance of the Cardinal. The coal export boom to China is what is really behind the Cardinal OTP problems.

    The solution is to lengthen a few of the sidings to more than 8000 ft long. The problem is agreeing who pays for it. BB and CSX (which owns the line, but leases it to BB) are not that interested because they don’t need the long sidings for their freight traffic. VA is probably the best bet for the bulk of the funds, but they are spending $100+ million of their rail funding to extend Amtrak service to Norfolk and have other rail projects on their plate. There may eventually an agreement between VA and Amtrak with a token amount from BB & CSX to fund extending the sidings, but the Hoosier State may go away before a daily Cardinal would start service. A daily Cardinal would be useful to VA to provide daily service to Charlottesville, Culpepper, etc to both WV and the NEC, so there are reasons for VA to provide some funds. Yes, this is a long winded and possibly more than you wanted to know post about the issues with daily Cardinal service!

    According to a report from a reliable source, the Cardinal is slated to get 2 sleeper cars along with a baggage-dorm car as the CAF Viewliners are delivered.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It can’t be used as matching funds for the Prop1a-08 bonds until the authority is in a position to issue revenue bonding. But when it is, that could well be a source with lower finance costs.

  12. Reality Check
    Jun 8th, 2012 at 12:44

    Radio (KPCC) interview with LA Times correspondent Ralph Vartabedian:
    Is California’s proposed bullet train a potential misfire?

  13. Reality Check
    Jun 8th, 2012 at 12:49

    Experts say rail plan improved, but still flawed

    “We continue to believe that management resources are inadequate to supervise the enormous contracting effort,” said [Will] Kempton, who is also a former state director of the California Department of Transportation, “and that attempts to launch a massive construction program in response to federal completion deadlines will only make the problem worse.

    “We believe the project should not proceed until a plan for resolving this challenge is prepared” and accepted by the rail authority and Gov. Jerry Brown.

    The review group was established by Proposition 1A, a $9 billion high-speed rail bond measure approved by voters in 2008. It is to evaluate the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s business and financing plans and offer recommendations to the Legislature.

    The authority’s board chairman, Dan Richard, said Thursday that the agency takes the review panel’s recommendations seriously and is working to address the management concerns.

    joe Reply:

    “We continue to believe that management resources are inadequate to supervise the enormous contracting effort,”

    Great. CA, hire and or transfer people with engineering skill and experience in transportation construction and contract supervision to the HSR project.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Indeed. If that’s the problem, allocate some money to hire some more management. Seriously, Mr. Kempton.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s a vicious circle. One one hand the naysayers will complain that there isn’t enough in-house management. If they go out and hire in-house managers the naysayers will complain about all the money they are spending on in-house managers. Rinse repeat.

    morris brown Reply:

    @ adirondacker12800

    At least I would hope you would agree that who they hire should be qualified for that position.

    The Morales appointment really fails in since he has no HSR experience. Apparently his only HSR experience is he wrote a paper on HSR sometime ago.

    That he now leaves his job as a PB employee and will now be paid by the Authority, which issues millions of dollars in contracts to PB, should have ruled him out from even being considered for the job. He was a political appointee to CalTrans during the Grey Davis era. He obviously has the ear of Gov. Brown.

    Brian Reply:

    Wait, so being the head of Caltrans means he is unqualified to lead a large CA infrastructure construction contract? Really?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The firing of Van Ark confirms that the primary qualification of the CEO of the CHSRA is utter and total sycophancy to Moonbeam’s whims and machinations.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    he wasn’t fired

    Brian Reply:

    So you believe state employees should be unaccountable to the Governor or the legislature?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    They should be accountable to syntho-mouse. If syntho-mouse were somehow to become governer, then and only then would state employees have to be accountable to the Governor.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The prima facie accountability and loyalty of state employees is to the people of the State, not to a political machine. In the so-called former Soviet Union essentially all citizens, not just public employees, are to be accountable to Vladmimir Putin. Anti-protest legislation is being effected to accomplish this end. Jerry is no doubt jealous. Vote against a tax; go to jail.

    Van Ark carried out his professional responsibility to the electorate by initiating the engineering study of Tejon, which was quashed by Brown. Now there is the appearance that Brown’s strings are being pulled by Nevada gaming interests, who already own your famous Sen. Reid. Question are Wynn, Adelson & co. ready pump their funds into LA’s social services department to make up for the welfare money that will be being shipped via the Palmdale Detour hsr to Sin City. Are these worthies prepared to subvent the maintenance and operating costs of the Tehachapi Roundabout they are conspiring to foist on California for their own venal ends?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    you have your talking points crossed. Welfare cheats won’t be taking the train, they’ll be drivinjg their Escalade to Las Vegas to gamble away their welfare check.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ adirondacker

    I did not say welfare queens or cheats. It’s all legit and legal-like. Wynn et al will be comping the train fare with full knowledge and expectation that will be getting it all back and lots more. Money drained
    from a broke California. Pathetic.

    And morons like Jared Huffman whine about the social impact of the RoPo casino. But they will vote for the Roundabout to Vegas, you betcha. Under orders from the great guru.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You don’t get to decide what people spend their money on. If they want to piss it away in Las Vegas that’s their decision. Just like they don’t get to decide how you spend your money.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “You don’t get to decide what people spend their money on.”

    But this is precisely what Brown-Pelosi political machine nannies try to do when they use all thier resources to try to kill tribal casinos. Ergo Jared Huffman. But voting for the Roundabout to Vegas to pump revenue out of state – de rigueur.

    Prop 1A has been subverted and co-opted by Reid & cronies. degueulasse. Shame on Moonbeam taking the side of Nevada over California.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Have the nurse loosen the tin foil. It might let in a stray Pelosi mind ray but it will be worth the risk.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Morris

    There is a flaw in your argument in light of the CHSRA’s recent experience. Van Ark’s shortcoming was in fact that he had hsr experience. He could not bring himself to do a sloppy job. The CHSRA needs some one oblivious of hsr and opportunistic, on the order of Nathaniel Ford.

  14. Reality Check
    Jun 8th, 2012 at 13:27

    SJ Mercury posted the following 3 HSR items today:

    Eric Rosenberg: With high-speed rail, is California buying a house while slashing its bills?

    Editorial: High-speed rail plan is delusional

    Daniel Borenstein: In his quest to be like his father, Gov. Brown risks his own legacy on high-speed rail

    William Reply:

    All these editorials make the same incorrect assumptions: HSR won’t be able to pay for itself and money spent to put people back to work would somehow have no benefit.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Sounds similar to CARDD’s inconsistent claims that HSR would result in no new net jobs, implying that HSR infrastructure offers no productivity benefit at all, and yet that they support HSR “if done right”, which implies that HSR does in fact offer productivity benefit.

  15. morris brown
    Jun 8th, 2012 at 16:12

    Boy is this editorial, as also noted just above, from the SJ Mercury News editorial board, right on target.

    High-speed Rail plan is delusional

    If this were from the LA Times editorial board, it might well kill the off the funding. However, the LA Times editorial board still has their heads sunk in the sand, while their reporters continue to expose the project for what is really represents — Trains to Nowhere — a huge scam that has been pitched to the legislature and the voters — a huge boondoggle.

    VBobier Reply:

    The guys a hack, real reporting was done by the LA Herald Examiner before it went out of business.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Same anti-rail hacks at the same anti-rail newspaper writing the same anti-rail platitudes.

    The LA Times Editorial Board has more integrity.

    Clem Reply:

    Let them eat BART.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Morris, Martin Engle, CCHSR, and Boondoggle are delusional…

  16. D. P. Lubic
    Jun 9th, 2012 at 11:44
  17. Jeff Carter
    Jun 10th, 2012 at 16:50

    Caltrain monthly ridership is based on revenue/tickets sold, using formulas that go back 30 years; to the Caltrans/Southern Pacific days. They do a detailed on-board passenger count once a year in Jan./Feb. in which teams of surveyors log the on’s/off’s at each station for every train for each weekday and Sat./Sun.

    Caltrain could actually acquire realistic ridership data and provide more detailed/useful monthly reports. TVM’s know where they are and they can log the station data of origin and the destination “zone” for all tickets sold. There should be years of this data acquired in the TVM database. Now with clipper, the clipper readers know where they are and should provide tag-on/tag-off origin and destination data for all users. Its not rocket science, why doesn’t Caltrain provide more detailed ridership data?

  18. Jeff Carter
    Jun 11th, 2012 at 04:33

    From the this is how we at Caltrain implement proof-of-payment department…

    Beginning this past week, for some bizarre reason, conductors are to check all tickets as customers board all trains in San Francisco. There are 400 people waiting at the gates, we open the gates 15 minutes before departure and conductors check everyone’s ticket.

    The only time I would see them do this is after a baseball game, which also they could screen out the too drunk baseball fans. I have also seen them sometimes do this late evenings on non-baseball game days.

    Conductors are still required to do random checks at some other point(s) during the trip. One conductor told me that when they do a random check some customers get annoyed since they have already been ticket checked.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t the whole idea of proof-of-payment supposed to be random checks for proper fare?

Comments are closed.