Amtrak California sets ridership records over Thanksgiving
December 24, 2014
• Central Valley’s “San Joaquin” trains carried 32,541 riders
• Ridership increases despite lower gas prices
Over one of the busiest travel periods of the year, Californians rode trains in unprecedented numbers this Thanksgiving, despite gas prices dipping to their lowest level in six years, says the California Department of Transportation.
The “San Joaquin,” which travels between Bakersfield and Oakland and is the fifth busiest corridor in the nation, had its second highest ridership and revenue in over a decade.
The “Pacific Surfliner,” which travels between San Diego and San Luis Obispo and is the second busiest intercity rail corridor in the nation, set records for the highest ridership and revenue in over a decade.
Traditionally, declining gasoline prices have had a negative impact on ridership, but not this year. California’s average gas prices for the Thanksgiving holiday this year was just over $3.00 a gallon, down nearly 15 percent from last year, but ridership and revenue were up on all Amtrak California routes.
Amtrak Thanksgiving Period Ridership, 2014 vs 2013
(Tuesday through Sunday)
• San Joaquin
Tuesday: 4,975 riders, up 1.7 percent from 2013
Wednesday: 7,445 riders, up 7.7 percent
Thursday: 3,657 riders, up 0.1 percent
Friday: 4,371 riders, up 2.3 percent
Saturday: 5,006 riders, up 4.2 percent
Sunday: 7,087 riders, up 4.8 percent
Total: 32,541 riders, up 4.0 percent from 2013.
The Pacific Surfliner trains carried 61,613 passengers during the six-day period, up 11.4 percent from last year.
Social media reports attribute the increased holiday ridership to a trend toward leisurely travel, according to Caltrans.
Under the Amtrak California banner, Caltrans funds three of the five busiest intercity passenger rail routes in the Amtrak system: the Pacific Surfliner corridor (ranked second), the Capitol Corridor (ranked third), and the San Joaquin corridor (ranked fifth). Caltrans manages both the Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin corridors. The Capitol Corridor, although funded by Caltrans, is managed by the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority.