Possible takeover of Amtrak San Joaquin by Altamont Regional

Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

Moderator: lensovet

Possible takeover of Amtrak San Joaquin by Altamont Regional

Postby Jeff Smith » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:54 am

Local Regional Transportation Looks To Take Over Operations

Looks like the San Joaquin could be taken over...however, Amtrak would still be the operator, just answering to the locals rather than the state.

Cross-posting to CA Commuter.

STOCKTON, Calif. (KCRA) -- A spokesman with the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, which runs the Altamont Commuter Express, said legislation is in the works to take over the San Joaquin's Amtrak line.

The line runs from Kern County through the Central Valley, and splits off into a Y at Stockton. One line proceeds to Sacramento, while the other heads toward Oakland.

...

Currently, the San Joaquin rail service runs up to six roundtrips. The Joint Powers Authority would aim to more than triple that.

Read more: http://www.kcra.com/news/30732658/detai ... z1prEDUEFT
Next stop, Willoughby
~Jeff Smith (fka "Sarge") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator
Jeff Smith
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7444
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:28 am
Location: MP 67.2 Georgia Southern Railway

Re: Amtrak San Joaquin Line Possible Takeover Altamont Regio

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:56 am

Anyone else wonder how "AC", Amtrak California, could easily become "IC", Intercity California?
Gilbert B Norman
 
Posts: 12894
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Aurora Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: Amtrak San Joaquin Line Possible Takeover Altamont Regio

Postby Paulus Magnus » Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:57 am

The same is happening with the Surfliner. Draft implementation and business case
Paulus Magnus
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:34 am

Re: Amtrak San Joaquin Line Possible Takeover Altamont Regio

Postby lensovet » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:15 am

what exactly is the point of these proposals? Is Amtrak somehow hampering improvements in service?
Paul Borokhov

Last RRPicArch addition – NJ Railfan.

NJT RailNJT Light RailCalifornia commuter (mod)
User avatar
lensovet
 
Posts: 941
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 7:30 pm
Location: Berkeley, CA

Re: Amtrak San Joaquin Line Possible Takeover Altamont Regio

Postby electricron » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:58 am

lensovet wrote:what exactly is the point of these proposals? Is Amtrak somehow hampering improvements in service?

It's just a power grab by the local transit agency over a state agency. The increase in Amtrak provided services is probably linked to who has the money for the services. Obviously, the state agency's funding is very tight, because the same type of power grab is being proposed in southern California too. Deep Throat is usually right, "follow the money".
Couple that with old refurbished Comets being introduced on the San Joaquin corridor in place of Superliners, it easy for those in the Valley to see a decrease in services.

So, to answer your question, it's not Amtrak hampering improvements, it's the state agency hampering improvements.
electricron
 
Posts: 3902
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: Possible takeover of Amtrak San Joaquin by Altamont Regi

Postby Jeff Smith » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:15 pm

Two interesting blurb's on the wire today regarding the SJ:

Modesto Bee

Lame headline but there's a nice graph in here. I don't really have a catch-all topic for the SJ, so we'll just talk about this here.

Amtrak losing money despite ridership

FRESNO -- Amtrak's San Joaquin line, the valley's only passenger train service, posted record ridership in 2012, attracting more than 1.1 million passengers last year.

The number of people riding the rails comes even as controversy continues to boil over plans to run high-speed trains through the region from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

The Amtrak San Joaquins — six daily trains northbound and six southbound between Bakersfield and the Bay Area and Sacramento — also saw revenue from ticket sales rise in the 2012 fiscal year to about $38.7 million. That's a boost of about $3 million, or 8.3 percent, over 2011.

...

Yet despite the rising ridership and revenue from ticket sales, the San Joaquins — along with Amtrak's other California lines and many others across the country — remain money-losing propositions. In its 2013 budget projections, the National Railroad Passenger Corp., the formal name for Amtrak, estimated a loss of $5.79 for every passenger riding on the San Joaquin trains.
Of 45 Amtrak passenger train lines across the United States, only five make money. Among the money-losers, only three lose less per passenger than the San Joaquins.

The San Joaquins, along with the Pacific Surfliner and Capitol Corridor trains, are run by Amtrak under contracts with Caltrans' Division of Rail, which subsidizes the service. Caltrans supports the San Joaquin Corridor to the tune of about $90 million a year.

...


and more related to the takeover:

Modesto Bee

Valley agencies confident in bid for Amtrak lines

CENTRAL VALLEY -- The Central Valley is on the cusp of forming a regional rail authority with a goal of taking control from the state over Amtrak commuter trains.

Five transportation agencies, including those in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties, signed on in December. That's one shy of the required six to officially form a joint powers authority; a single positive vote among four in January and February would seal the deal.

So sure are leaders of a sixth partner joining that the future authority has scheduled a March 22 public kickoff meeting in Merced.

...

Amtrak's San Joaquin Corridor has thrived under the California Department of Transportation's rail administration, growing from eight trains per day in 1998 to 12 last year, when annual ridership pushed past 1 million. The line is Amtrak's fifth busiest in the United States.

...
Next stop, Willoughby
~Jeff Smith (fka "Sarge") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator
Jeff Smith
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7444
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:28 am
Location: MP 67.2 Georgia Southern Railway

Re: Possible takeover of Amtrak San Joaquin by Altamont Regi

Postby Alloy » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:46 pm

Amtrak's San Joaquin Corridor has thrived under the California Department of Transportation's rail administration, growing from eight trains per day in 1998 to 12 last year, when annual ridership pushed past 1 million. The line is Amtrak's fifth busiest in the United States.


The line is busy and the article says that revenues grew 8.3% from 2011 to 2012. And yet...

Of 45 Amtrak passenger train lines across the United States, only five make money. Among the money-losers, only three lose less per passenger than the San Joaquins.


I would think the fifth busiest line in the U.S. could do a whole lot better on passenger revenue than fourth from the bottom among 40 other trains. If I were a legislator looking to find reasons to cut down Amtrak, I'd certainly include this statistic. I personally support our state subsidizing mass transit, but it is discouraging that a seemingly popular line can't make a better financial showing than this.
Farrell Wills
Alloy
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:02 am
Location: Burlingame, CA

Re: Possible takeover of Amtrak San Joaquin by Altamont Regi

Postby electricron » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:29 pm

Alloy wrote:
Of 45 Amtrak passenger train lines across the United States, only five make money. Among the money-losers, only three lose less per passenger than the San Joaquins.


I would think the fifth busiest line in the U.S. could do a whole lot better on passenger revenue than fourth from the bottom among 40 other trains. If I were a legislator looking to find reasons to cut down Amtrak, I'd certainly include this statistic. I personally support our state subsidizing mass transit, but it is discouraging that a seemingly popular line can't make a better financial showing than this.


They're not fourth from the bottom, they're fourth from the top requiring smaller subsidies, or ninth from the top including the five that don't need subsidies.
Still, one would think the fifth busiest line would fall in fifth overall, not ninth.
electricron
 
Posts: 3902
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: Possible takeover of Amtrak San Joaquin by Altamont Regi

Postby Alloy » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:44 pm

They're not fourth from the bottom, they're fourth from the top requiring smaller subsidies, or ninth from the top including the five that don't need subsidies.
Still, one would think the fifth busiest line would fall in fifth overall, not ninth.


OK, I stand corrected. I had to read that line again several times to realize they were saying that the San Joaquins were near the top of the forty money-losers, not near the bottom. Something about the phrasing of that line threw me off: "Among the money-losers, only three lose less per passenger than the San Joaquins."
Farrell Wills
Alloy
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:02 am
Location: Burlingame, CA

Re: Amtrak San Joaquin Line Possible Takeover Altamont Regio

Postby lensovet » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:51 pm

electricron wrote:
lensovet wrote:what exactly is the point of these proposals? Is Amtrak somehow hampering improvements in service?

It's just a power grab by the local transit agency over a state agency. The increase in Amtrak provided services is probably linked to who has the money for the services. Obviously, the state agency's funding is very tight, because the same type of power grab is being proposed in southern California too. Deep Throat is usually right, "follow the money".
Couple that with old refurbished Comets being introduced on the San Joaquin corridor in place of Superliners, it easy for those in the Valley to see a decrease in services.

So, to answer your question, it's not Amtrak hampering improvements, it's the state agency hampering improvements.

is that actually true though? will the local agencies really have more money than the state?
you're right about following the money…seems to me like some local officials want some money, not that the state is doing a bad job. Look at these latest ridership numbers, for example. Seems to me the state is doing a pretty good job so far.
Paul Borokhov

Last RRPicArch addition – NJ Railfan.

NJT RailNJT Light RailCalifornia commuter (mod)
User avatar
lensovet
 
Posts: 941
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 7:30 pm
Location: Berkeley, CA

Re: Amtrak San Joaquin Line Possible Takeover Altamont Regio

Postby electricron » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:16 pm

lensovet wrote:is that actually true though? will the local agencies really have more money than the state?
you're right about following the money…seems to me like some local officials want some money, not that the state is doing a bad job. Look at these latest ridership numbers, for example. Seems to me the state is doing a pretty good job so far.


The state should always have more money, but the legislature will not always allocate as much money as local agencies will every year. The state has many more responsibilities to fund than transit agencies.

There's a difference between capabilities and will.
electricron
 
Posts: 3902
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm


Return to California Commuter & Transit

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests