Booming economy boosts passenger rail

Auburn-to-Bay Area Capitol Corridor ridership increases
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Capitol Corridor is crediting a booming Northern California economy as a key for ridership increases on its passenger trains in 2018.

Released this past week, the Auburn-to-San Jose passenger rail service’s 2019-20 business plan reports ridership for 2018 through November is up 5.7 percent from last year and 8.7 percent higher than its own projections.

Revenue was also a beat - 3.8 percent above last year in actual numbers and 8.6 percent more than business plan projections.

“Northern California’s booming megaregional economy plus high service reliability continues to sustain ridership and increase the Capitol Corridor’s appeal,” Capitol Corridor is reporting.

Strong weekend ridership from travel to San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders and Oakland A’s games also played a major role in the ridership increase.

Capitol Corridor released December figures showing ridership increases through Dec. 31. Ridership was up 2.1 percent in December from a year earlier, with 131,586 people taking Capitol Corridor trains.  On-time performance was 85 percent.

The business plan also provides an update on the Sacramento-to-Roseville third track plan, which is currently in the design phase. Capitol Corridor and Union Pacific are working on design plans expected to be completed in late 2020, the joint powers authority said this week. A 2021 construction start is planned.

The third track will add two more daily round trips between Sacramento and Roseville. An improved Roseville station with expanded platform is part of the plan.