I’ve been super busy, so here is a short post with some recent transportation news I didn’t post about:
- Starting October 28, Volaris will be adding two flights a week to Leon/Guanajuato airport. This means Fresno will now have service to three cities in Mexico! (Guadalajara and Morelia are the other two). The flight will be on an Airbus A320.
- United brought back the Chicago flight and upgraded it from a regional jet to a Boring 737 or Airbus 319. Flights leave Fresno at 11:15pm arriving in Chicago at 5:11am. The return flight leaves Chicago at 7:40pm and arrives in Fresno at 10:10pm. Roundtrip starts at $449, which isn’t great – but that shows demand was there last summer.
- It will be a little easier to fly to Japan because JAL is code-sharing with Alaska. That means you can fly Fresno-Seattle-Tokyo on one ticket, so your bags go all the way and you don’t have to check in twice.
- Amtrak San Joaquin schedule switches in May, supposedly on May 6. However, this new schedule is not posted on the Amtrak website yet. I talked about these changes a few months ago. The focus will be on reliability. On the current schedule, on time performance is down to 63%, which is pretty terrible.
- The “2019 Draft San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority Business Plan Update” (what a mouthful) has been posted here (PDF). These are created annually. Nothing too interesting. More trips are still planned “within the next 5 years”. They still think more trains to Sacramento will be the golden goose in ridership, as both new trips would go there.
- A new Amtrak thruway bus between Madera and San Jose is in the works. Currently, if you want to get from the Valley to San Jose on Amrak, you have to go all the way up and around. There once was a bus that went to San Jose via Los Banos and Gilroy (from Modesto I think?) but that was eliminated a decade ago.
- Manufacturing continues at a good pace on the new Siemens railcars that will be operating on the San Joaquin line next year. They still have no idea how they will accommodate the high-floor cars on the low-floor line. These rail cars are the same ones being used on Brightline – speaking of…
- Virgin Trains USA (formerly Brightline) has gotten a hold of $1.75 billion to extend their rail line from West Palm Beach to Orlando. It will be interesting to see how quickly they are able to build the line, compared to public projects. The current line from Miami to West Palm Beach uses tracks the company already owned for freight. The new segment has no rail infrastructure in place.
- The April 2019 High Speed Rail update is available here (PDF).
- I missed this last December, but BoltBus is no longer serving Fresno. In fact, they cancelled their entire California network! Oddly, I couldn’t find any media reports about it. That leaves Fresno with Greyhound (who owns BoltBus), Flixbus, and various Mexican bus lines.
- Don’t believe the hype. Cars are not and will never be an appreciating asset. This is in response to a song and dance Elon Musk is planning tomorrow.
- Gas prices in Fresno are about to hit $4, the highest since 2014. It will be interesting to see how this affects ridership on both Amtrak and FAX. Transit ridership follows gas prices closely, which is one of the reasons why ridership on FAX and Amtrak as been down.