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Passenger Trains > Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and cost mor


Date: 12/15/09 07:25
Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and cost mor
Author: nspctrjn

Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and cost more



BY MIKE ROSENBERG

Bay Area News Group

Those hoping to ride California’s highspeed train next decade will have to reach deeper into their pockets than officials anticipated, a development that will drive away millions of passengers, according to an updated business plan released Monday.

The average ticket on the bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles is now estimated to cost about $105, or 83 percent of comparable airfare. Last year, the state said prices would be set at 50 percent of comparable airfare and predicted a ticket from San Francisco to LosAngeles would cost $55.

Asa result of the higher fares, state officials now think the service will attract 41 million annual riders by 2035, down from last year’s prediction of 55 million passengers by 2030.

Finally, the cost of the project — recently pegged at $33.6 billion in 2008 dollars— is now estimated at $42.6 billion in time-of-construction dollars.

The forecasts are included in the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s updated business plan, which the state Legislature required the authority to submit by Tuesday.

The authority last produced a business plan in 2008. State officials had used what turned out to be optimistic ridership and ticket price forecasts in presenting a $9.9 billion bond measure called Proposition 1A, which voters approved in November 2008.

Authority Deputy Director Jeff Barker said while the numbers have changed, the “spirit of what the people voted for” with Prop 1A remains the same.

“What they voted for was to put $9 billion toward construction of a high-speed rail system,” Barker said. “That’s still what we have today. We’re not asking the voters for additional money.”

With higher fares and fewer passengers, the authority will actually turn a higher profit, according to the 142-page business plan. Officials expect annual revenues to hit $2.87 billion by 2035 and insist that under the newest model their system will be profitable.

“The point of this business plan is to prove that it’s a viable project,” Barker said. “This is a scenario in which increasing the ticket (price) and having fewer riders, you reduce your operations and maintenance costs such that your profits are higher.”

Barker cautioned that the figures are still subject to change in coming years.

“Any type of ticket price or ridership numbers, they’re all estimates until the day the thing opens,” he said.

The new business plan expects 120,700 riders per day in 2035, with 31,800 boarding in the Bay Area along the Caltrain right of way where the high-speed train will operate from San Francisco to San Jose.

The authority predicts 2,500 daily boardings at the Millbrae station, 7,600 at the San Jose stop and 24,100 at the San Francisco Transbay Terminal, the line’s northern terminus. The plan also assumes 3,900 daily riders at Redwood City, although the authority may not include a stop there, or may move the station to either Palo Alto or Mountain View.

The new plan forecasts more construction jobs than originally thought. Officials expect the project to create 600,000 jobs across the state during an eight-year span, including 105,000 in the Bay Area.

The state expects to begin construction on the line in 2012 and will have part of the system open for service by 2017, with the entire San Francisco-to-Anaheim line completed by 2020, according to the business plan.

Asample weekday schedule shows nine southbound trains leaving San Francisco from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., including four that stop in Millbrae and eight that stop in San Jose. For a train to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles, it would take between 2 hours and 38 minutes and 3 hours and 15 minutes, depending on the number of stops it makes along the way.

The authority expects the Legislature to hold a hearing on the plan in the coming months.





MORE JOBS

Officials expect the project to create 600,000 jobs across the state during an eight-year span, including 105,000 in the Bay Area.




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Date: 12/15/09 08:48
Re: Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and cost
Author: PERichardson

Noooo, say it ain't so!! A lapdog consultant's report overstated ridership and understated fares?, what a shocker.

BTW, the airfare numbers must be based on more or less full fare which virtually nobody pays. I haven't paid more than $120 roundtrip since I don't know when.



Date: 12/15/09 12:49
Re: Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and cost
Author: calzephyr48

You may rest assured that the project will be "on time and under budget"... just keep changing the budget and the timetable... When that number approaches $100B we'll be in the ballpark.



Date: 12/15/09 13:43
Re: Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and cost
Author: Coach

OK, let's do some simple math to expose another flaw:

--they predict 2500 daily boardings at the MILLBRAE station, but only 4 trains per day will stop there, so that means 8 trains will stop there when you include the roundtrips. That equals about 312 people per train (8 trains x 312 = about 2500 pax). 312 people exiting from every train? And wouldn't that basically mean the train is heavily booked to that one stop?? And what happens if a relatively full train rolls into MILLBRAE, and 312 people are getting on? Granted, they'll have reservations, but will the train really leave SF with that many seats left open? Hard to believe.

Consultants and government agencies always do this: they grossly underestimate the costs (so the public will "believe" and buy it), then they come out later after winning the vote and say "Oops, we were wrong. It's really going to cost alot more." Just look at the Bay Bridge...

A 33% increase in costs is not a "small oversight" or lack of information. It's an outright disception and a promoted falsehood, in my opinion, and not tolerable. If I could, I would shut them down right now for being so inept in their estimates. Nip it in the bud now before it grows into a money-sucking weed.



Date: 12/15/09 14:39
Re: Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and cost
Author: Jaanfo

Coach, it seems to me they're getting their numbers by watching BART at rush hour, running that many trains with that many people is just not practical in the environment this HSR project will be operating in. I'd expect at best the project could be compared to the Acela express when it's done in terms of ridership and scheduling, maybe 16 HSR round trips per day (interspersing HSR with Commuter and Regional trains so roughly three times that number along a given ection of track). We're probably seeing the first of many reality calls.



Date: 12/15/09 16:12
Re: Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and cost
Author: sactobob

Coach Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> OK, let's do some simple math to expose another
> flaw:
>
> --they predict 2500 daily boardings at the
> MILLBRAE station, but only 4 trains per day will
> stop there, so that means 8 trains will stop there
> when you include the roundtrips.

If I read the original post correctly, 4 trains per HOUR (at least between 7am and 8am) will stop at Millbrae, not just 4 per day.



Date: 12/15/09 16:17
Re: Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and cost
Author: DL701

sactobob Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Coach Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > OK, let's do some simple math to expose another
> > flaw:
> >
> > --they predict 2500 daily boardings at the
> > MILLBRAE station, but only 4 trains per day
> will
> > stop there, so that means 8 trains will stop
> there
> > when you include the roundtrips.
>
> If I read the original post correctly, 4 trains
> per HOUR (at least between 7am and 8am) will stop
> at Millbrae, not just 4 per day.


That was a typo, they meant 7am to 8PM. Caltrain doesn't have 9 departures in the morning!



Date: 12/15/09 17:35
Re: Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and cost
Author: wingsfan4l

The article is referring to the following report: http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/images/chsr/20091214132101_CHSRARPT1209weblinks.pdf#page=66

Costs are now being presenting in time-of-construction dollars, adjusted for inflation over a ~10-yr construction window. In 2008 dollars the costs are slightly increased from 33.6 to 34.9 B stated to be due to alignment changes.

The sample schedule is for 9 departures in the 7am to 8am hour from SF southbound, not a typo.

The report is 145 pages and has reasonable explanations for how they came up with figures for all sorts of things.



Date: 12/16/09 11:38
Re: Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and cost
Author: Lackawanna484

$100 is a bargain for the 325 miles from Los Angeles to San Francisco by high speed rail.

Amtrak charges nearly that much for a conventional train for about the same distance, from New York to Richmond VA. If you take the moderately high speed Acela to DC, and continue on the regional, it will cost you about $250. Prices change depending on the day of the week, time of day, etc.

Another example of NEC fares per mile being orders of magnitude higher than Amtrak fares elsewhere in the county



Date: 12/17/09 14:33
Re: Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and cost
Author: ry

I'll let the CA HSR Blog do my typing for me:

-------------------------------------------------------
> Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and
> cost more
>
>
>
> BY MIKE ROSENBERG
>
> Bay Area News Group
>
> Those hoping to ride California’s highspeed
> train next decade will have to reach deeper into
> their pockets than officials anticipated, a
> development that will drive away millions of
> passengers, according to an updated business plan
> released Monday.

"Of course, as we pointed out, the estimated higher fares are entirely optional. The CHSRA could still have train fares at 50% of airfares if they wanted to. But since they believe they need more private funding, that means a need for more fare revenues, even at the expense of ridership, and so they’re contemplating setting fares at 83% of airfare. As I explained yesterday, I think that’s the wrong choice – but it is a choice.

"And there’s a crucial underlying factor that explains this choice. From the same Mercury News article:

> Authority Deputy Director Jeff Barker said while
> the numbers have changed, the “spirit of what
> the people voted for” with Prop 1A remains the
> same.
>
> “What they voted for was to put $9 billion
> toward construction of a high-speed rail
> system,” Barker said. “That’s still what we
> have today. We’re not asking the voters for
> additional money.”

"Barker is reflecting the political assumption that there’s no way at all that any more money can be generated to pay for the project from public sources, and that private sources are the only way to make up the difference, and that we have to sacrifice ridership in order to pay those private investors."


The blog has a far more in-depth review of the business plan here:
http://www.cahsrblog.com/2009/12/the-2009-business-plan-is-out/



Date: 12/18/09 17:21
Re: Report: Bullet train to serve fewer riders and cost
Author: ProAmtrak

I could care less on readin' it, it's the same thing I've been sayin' since it was in the ballot last year, PIPE DREAM!



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