Voters in eight states go to the polls today with the main event focused on California where voters choose the top two candidates, regardless of party, who will face off in November. Californians call it the “jungle primary” which was instituted back when Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was governor. Arnold thought that it would bring …
May 14 2012
Sunday Train: Faster Trains Yields More Services Per Day
Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence
Back in the 29 Nov 2009 Sunday Train, Frequency and Waiting on a Train, I reacted to a point made in John McCommon’s book, Waiting on a Train:
“Once those intermodal trains can go through Stampede Pass, it will take some traffic off the main line and free up more room for additional passenger trains,” said Uznanski.
By bringing the number of trains up to eight a day between Vancouver and Portland, ridership and ticket revenue will increase significantly. Currently ticket sales – what is known as farebox – cover 43% of the Amtrak Cascades’ operating expenses; the state subsidizes the remainder. Run eight trains daily, however, the farebox recovery goes up to 70%.
It’s all about frequency. When trains are frequency and convenient, ridership – particularly business travel – grows dramatically, said Uznanski.
It was a mantra I was to hear from experts all across the country – frequency builds ridership and only frequency significantly builds farebox recovery. Sure its great to have trains running more than 100mph in a corridor, but if there are only a couple of trains a day, they just aren’t convenient enough to move people off the highway or away from the airport.
– John McCommons, Waiting on a Train, Chelsea Green Publishing: Vermont, p. 51
This came back to mind when I was thinking last week about the “Cornhusker Rocket” proposal to reintroduce regular corridor service between Omaha and Chicago via Des Moines, Iowa City and the Quad Cities. Often times, a substantial benefit in getting train speeds up is that ability to operate more services per day with the same number of trains.