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May-June 2002
After celebrating its 10th anniversary
in December, the Amtrak Capitol Corridor
plans to expand service and position itself
as the preferred way to travel between
Sacramento and the Bay Area.
In its moves to enhance service, Gene
Skoropowski, the managing director of
Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority
(CCJPA), announced the agency's plans to
introduce Business Class sometime this
summer. "Business Class will work much like
the differences in classes of service on a
plane or ship, or on most trains in the rest of
the world." Skoropowski wrote in a recent
message to the EastBay train email list.
According to the CCJPA, one car on
each train would be designated as a Business
Class car, and
a d v a n c e
r e s e r v a t i o n s
would be
required for
passengers. In
return for the
higher fare,
Business Class
passengers would receive free newspapers
and coffee. Skoropowski said the idea of
Business Class came from passengers, many
of whom said they would be willing to pay a
higher fare for reserved seating on the trains.
The Capitol Corridor also recently
designated one car per train as the quiet car,
based on the success of such a program on
the Boston-Washington corridor.
Besides introducing Business Class
and quiet cars, the agency also has focused
on improving speed and reliability, as well
as increasing frequency. Currently the CCJPA
is working with Caltrain and Union Pacific to
add a fourth track between Santa Clara and
San Jose. They plan to extend three more
round trips to the Silicon Valley from
Sacramento and the East Bay.
At the same time, the Capitol Corridor
plans to raise the prices of monthly passes
by 10% and 10-ride tickets by 5% on May
14. "Capitol Corridor monthlies are, I believe,
the most heavily discounted monthlies in the
country," wrote Skoropowski. He stated that
higher fares were necessary to expand train
To BayRail Alliance members and friends:
Board of Directors Election: BayRail Seeks Candidates
BayRail Alliance will be holding its annual election for Board of Directors at
the July 8 general meeting.
If you are interested in being a candidate for the BayRail Board of
Directors, please notify election chair Dan Krause of your intention to run, by
phone or e-mail (see below), as soon as you can. To be a candidate, you must be
a currently paid BayRail Alliance member, and submit a statement of 200
words or less on your qualifications and desire to serve on the board, along
with the signatures of five currently paid BayRail Alliance members by
Monday, June 10. You may request names of current members for this purpose.
With your statement, please include your city of residence, occupation, and
employer. Please send these to the following address (e-mail preferred):
BayRail board election, c/o Dan Krause
415 Paul Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94124
(415) 656-0999
A ballot will be mailed to all BayRail voting members in mid-June. If this
newsletter was mailed to you, your BayRail membership expiration date is on
the attached address label. If your expiration date is before July 8, 2002, then you
must renew your membership in order to be a candidate or vote in this election.
Senate Bill 1856, introduced by State
Senator Jim Costa (D-Fresno), would place
on the November 2002 statewide ballot a
bond issue to fund High Speed Rail between
Northern and Southern California. If the
legislature and then the voters approve the
plan, the state will start issuing bonds to
finance right-of-way acquisition,
engineering, and construction. Also the state
will begin the process of seeking federal and
local funds to supplement state funding.
While the details have yet to be
decided as of this writing, the initial plan for
the bill is to partially fund a high speed rail
line between San Jose and Los Angeles. The
bond issue may raise $6 billion for this
purpose. The remaining portions of the
proposed 700-mile HSR system serving
Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Diego
would be built in future phases.
Concerns have been raised by the
cities and areas not served by the "phase
one" HSR system, such as San Francisco.
Supporters of the bill argue that, due to the
economic downturn, costs must be kept to a
minimum. At the same time, they see an
opportunity in the current political climate:
High Speed Rail Bond May Go Before Voters
Capitol Corridor
Plans to Introduce
Business Class
voters who desire new travel alternatives,
especially after 9/11.
Past HSR planning studies have found
that if the HSR line from Southern California
terminated in downtown San Francisco, it
would attract significantly more riders than
if it terminated in San Jose or Oakland.
Nevertheless, some HSR proponents believe
that Los Angeles to San Jose service is likely
to generate an operating profit, and that
would help pay for constructing the rest of
the system. In this way, the starter line would
also provide the momentum needed for
building the complete system.
At present, various upgrades are
underway to enable HSR passengers from
San Jose to reach San Francisco via the
Caltrain line. Passengers could transfer to
Caltrain's new express service (slated to begin
in late 2003). Also, Caltrain is anticipated to
be electrified by the time HSR reaches San
Jose from the south, and thus could allow
HSR trains to continue to San Francisco at
slower speeds.
These and other issues are likely to be
raised when the Senate Transportation Com-
mittee debates SB 1856, scheduled for May 7.