Tag: amtrak california

A look at Amtrak California ridership – February 2017

With the news that the San Joaquin line is looking to get a new 8th daily train next year, I felt it was time to take a new look at Amtrak California ridership. This post looks at the most recent Amtrak report, which covers February 2017. Here are some older posts:

Since we last checked in, the San Joaquin received a new 7th daily train. Unfortunately, the addition of a new train has not resulted in higher ridership. In fact, it has gone down a tad.

The entire Amtrak system was down around 3%, compared to last February, which makes sense when you consider that February 2016 had one more day (leap year). Maybe doing these in February wasn’t the best idea, woops. Click to read more!

Amtrak San Joaquin on Track for 8th Daily Train

It was just last June that the Amtrak San Joaquin line received a 7th daily train, and now planning for an 8th daily is well underway. The current target, according to the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority, is January, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that slip a month or two.

The plan is to offer a “morning express,” with service between Fresno and Sacramento. Currently, all trains originate in Bakersfield, with 5 going to Oakland, and 2 to Sacramento. Riders can reach either location the full 7 times thanks to bus transfers. Click to read more!

Amtrak California gets new funding, trainsets (thanks Wisconsin!)

Early this week, the California State Transportation Agency sprinkled $390 million in grants around the state, courtesy of the successful Cap and Trade program. Streetsblog California highlighted the projects, but I would like to give special attention to the Amtrak funding. 


California has shown the strongest support for intercity rail in the country. Aside from developing High Speed Rail, three of Amtrak’s busiest routes exist entirely within California, and are funded by the state. Earlier this year, the San Joaquin saw a new 7th daily train, and now the other lines will get some love.


Particularly poetic is the lease of Talgo train-sets to run between Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo. What makes these trains special is that they were purchased by Wisconsin for their High Speed Rail Project. That project was cancelled by Scott Walker, but not before the trains were built, and the state was put on the hook for not following through. Click to read more!

7th daily San Joaquin train launches on June 20 – a look at the new schedule!

Amtrak’s new 7th daily San Joaquin train will launch on June 20!

A few months ago, I reported that final touches were being put on a new 7th daily train between Bakersfield and the Bay Area. Although they missed the predicted launch date of June 6, you can now purchase tickets reflecting the new schedule that kicks off on the 20th.

That’s how I was able to see what the new times look like, because the full version has not been posted on Amtrak’s page, Let’s take a look! Click to read more!

New Amtrak Award Valuation: Major downgrade for California passengers

When it comes to rewards points, a new press release is a frequent traveler’s worst nightmare. Enter Amtrak:

A simpler process and more flexible earning and redemption options will be hallmarks of Amtrak’s completely overhauled Guest Rewards program, set to be implemented January 2016.
Travel Pulse

Translation: If you ride Amtrak California frequently, you need to use your points before a massive devaluation hits in January.

We are confident this program combines what passengers want most — the ability to grow points earnings rapidly with the freedom to use those points in the way that best fits their individual travel needs.” Click to read more!

Amtrak California Ridership Update

Nothing quite says Christmas like fresh graphs and Amtrak ridership stats. Since I haven’t done one of these Amtrak California ridership updates since August, I figured we were well overdue in taking a look at the most recent trends. In my last update, we had ridership stats up to May, today I have until September.

The San Joaquin continues to be the line showing the greatest gains in ridership. The Capitol Corridor and Pacific Surfliner are not showing much growth, as they are pretty stable compared to last years numbers (up a bit, then down a bit). Next year should continue to show growth on all lines as the economy improves, resulting in more people moving about. Megabus has started service between Sf and Sacramento which may impact Amtrak ridership in that corridor. Click to read more!

Amtrak California offering 20% college discount

Amtrak has been offering college students in California a discounted ticket option for travel from now until June 13, 2013. Sadly, there are blackout dates, like Thanksgiving weekend, but there are many opportunities to save money.

Not all college IDs are valid for the discount, but in the Central Valley students at Fresno State, Fresno City, Bakersfield State, and UC Merced are among those included in the promotion.

Tickets must be purchased online at least three days in advance at this website, which also has the full list of details and restrictions. ID is presented on board if requested. Click to read more!

Will Megabus serve Fresno this time?

It’s been a badly kept secret, but Megabus is returning to California later this year. Megabus originally entered the California market in 2007, but left in mid 2008 due to poor ridership. Believe it or not, but Megabus served California before they began operations in the northeast corridor, which is now their strongest market.

Back in 2007, service was focused on LA, with routes to Vegas, San Francisco, Phoenix and San Diego. The Central Valley was not served, as the buses used I-5 to express between LA and the Bay Area. Megabus was unhappy with ridership, and took all their buses east. Click to read more!

New old trains coming to Amtrak’s San Joaquin

Thanks in part to some of the stimulus money of 2010, Amtrak California will be receiving 42 new rail-cars to service the three in-state routes it runs. Sadly, that process is slow, and the builder of those trains has only just been announced, with deliveries not set to begin until 2015.

With rail ridership on a non-stop upwards trend now, what can the state rail agency do to increase capacity in the short term?

The answer lies in buying used.

Or in this case, VERY used.

California earlier this year made a subdued announcement about the work they’re doing to bring new train cars to the valley. I haven’t seen the media report on this, but there was a presentation a few weeks ago that shed light on the work. Click to read more!

Amtrak California ridership continues to grow in 2012

This is my sixth time posting a summary of Amtrak California ridership and the story continues to be the same – more riders. Those increases come with a poor economy, no improvements in service and (slight) increases in fares. The fastest grower continues to be the San Joaquin service, which runs from Bakersfield to Oakland or Sacramento, which just so happens to be the starting point for California’s future high speed rail service.

Amtrak has just released the May 2012 numbers, so lets take a look inside. Click to read more!