June 14, 2011 (Sacramento) –With the rise in gasoline prices, San Diego area and California motorists left the highways, and are riding the rails in record numbers over the past 12 months to ride two of California’s highly successful intercity passenger rail corridors, Caltrans has announced.
Led by the San Joaquin corridor, which serves the Central Valley, linking Los Angeles and Bakersfield with Sacramento and the Bay Area, California’s state supported intercity passenger rail corridors had banner years. Compared to May 2010, ridership on the San Joaquin, the nation’s fifth busiest rail corridor, shot up over 12 percent with a 19 percent increase in revenue.
The Pacific Surfliner, the second most popular rail corridor in the nation, links San Luis Obispo with San Diego via Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. It experienced a 4 percent climb in ridership and a 9 percent hike in revenue.
“These incredible ridership and revenue numbers show that by providing reliable, high quality service, Californians will leave their cars to ride trains,” said Acting Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.
With five million annual passengers, California has more than 20 percent of all Amtrak riders. Since 1990, Caltrans has invested more than $1.3 billion in infrastructure and equipment for intercity passenger rail and about $1 billion in operating support.