Posts Tagged ‘San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority’

San Joaquin Service Being Trimmed

March 24, 2020

Amtrak service on the San Joaquin route in California will be reduced on March 26 due to COVID-19 pandemic.

A news release issued by the San Joaquins Joint Powers Authority said the changes are due to falling ridership, travel restrictions and the need to maintain appropriate social distancing aboard the trains.

Ridership of the San Joaquin route has fallen by 70 percent in recent weeks.
Trains 701, 702, 703, 704, 714, and 717 are being suspended.

This will temporarily end direct train service to Lodi and Sacramento, which will continue to be served by Thruway Buses to/from all operating trains.

For the time being café car service has ended in order to eliminate risks from food handling and reduce unnecessary onboard passenger movement. Emergency snack packs and water will be distributed to passengers at no charge.

Station lobbies are being temporarily closed at Hanford, Fresno, Merced, Modesto and Martinez but trains will continue to stop there.

Reduce station hours will be in effect at Bakersfield, Stockton, Sacramento, Emeryville and Oakland.

Tickets can be purchased via, the Amtrak app, by calling 800-USA-RAIL, and onboard from the conductor with cash.

Latest Amtrak Cuts Include Station Closings

March 21, 2020

Although no Amtrak long distance trains have thus far been spared from service suspensions, they are getting shorter consists.

An online report said the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited is operating with one P42DC locomotive, one sleeper, one food service car and two coaches.

Some Amtrak station waiting rooms are being temporarily closed.

In a service advisory posted on its website, Amtrak said waiting rooms in Kalamazoo and East Lansing, Michigan, are closed and passengers will not have access to the station restrooms.

The notice said station caretakers will be present to answer questions, provide direction and help operate wheelchair lifts.

Amtrak recommended that rather than waiting outside on the platform that passengers use the Amtrak app or other means to check train status while waiting in their personal vehicles for their train to arrive.

Other stations that are closed include those in Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Altoona and Johnstown.

All Amtrak service has been suspended at those stations.

Other stations that continue to have service but which are closed include Bloomington-Normal, Illlinois; Burlington, Iowa; Dodge City, Kansas, Lincoln, Nebraska; Lawrence, Kansas; Plano, Illinois; St. Petersburg, Florida (Thruway bus service stop)

In the case of the Normal station, passengers will have access to the Uptown Garage and its complimentary one-hour parking.

Garage elevator access will lead only to the street level. Platform access will be from the exterior of the building only.

Customer Service Representatives will be present on the platform 30 minutes before scheduled departure times to continue checked baggage service, unaccompanied minor service and special services.

The service hours at the Gallup, New Mexico, station has been modified. Passengers will have access to the interior of the station for the 30 minutes before the train arrival time.

Additional service suspensions have also been announced.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said that starting March 23 Piedmont Service trains 73, 74, 77, and 78 are suspended.

Piedmonts 75 and 76 will continue to operate as will the New York-Charlotte Carolinian.

In California, Pacific Surfliner service will be cut in half on March 23 and further reduced on March 24.

On March 23, Trains 561, 565, 579, and 593 will operate as scheduled but Trains 569, 573, 583, 591, 595, and 759 are cancelled.

Trains 763 and 777 will operate according to the schedule between San Diego and Goleta but there will be no service north of Goleta.

Trains 767 and 785 will operate according to the schedule between San Diego and Los Angeles with no service north of Los Angeles.

Trains 564, 580, and 584 will operate as scheduled but Trains 562, 566, 572, 578, 590, 782, and 792 are cancelled.

Train 796 will operate according to the schedule between Goleta and San Diego but with no service between San Luis Obispo and Goleta.

Effective March 24, scheduled will be further modified and subject to additional change based on ridership and public health conditions.

Trains 759, 561/1761, 565/1565, 569/1569, 573/1573, 583, 591/1591, and 595 are cancelled. Trains 763 and 777 will operate according to the schedule between San Diego and Goleta with no service north of Goleta.

Trains 767/1767 and 785 will operate according to the schedule between San Diego and Los Angeles but with no service north of Los Angeles.

Trains 562, 566/1566, 572/1572, 578, 782, 590/1590, and 792 are cancelled.

Train 774 will operate according to the schedule between Los Angeles and San Diego with no service between San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles.

Train 796 will operate according to the schedule between Goleta and San Diego with no service between San Luis Obispo and Goleta.

Service to San Luis Obispo will be preserved through limited bus connections from Santa Barbara. The Coast Starlight will also continue serving San Luis Obispo.

In northern California, the San Joaquins Joint Powers Authority, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority and Amtrak have agreed on the following service reductions.

Amtrak San Joaquin service will be suspending the Emeryville and San Francisco Thruway Bus Route (Route 99) on March 21.

Passengers traveling to San Francisco are encouraged to utilize BART via the Richmond Station.

On March 26, Trains 701, 702, 703, 704, 714, and 717 will be suspended and remaining trains will not have lead service attendants or food service.
Train 719 will no longer stop at Richmond because of the BART reduction in hours.

On the east Coast, Amtrak’s Downeaster service will see further service reductions to two roundtrips a day.

On March 21 and 22, Trains 692, 694, 693 and 695 will operate.

Between March 23-27 trains operating will include Nos. 680, 682, 681 and 684.

North of the border, VIA Rail Canada has said the suspension of the Montreal-Halifax Ocean, Toronto-Vancouver Canadian, and Jasper-Prince Rupert service has been extended to May 1.

Effective March 23 Montreal-Senneterre and Montreal-Jonquiere, Quebec, trains will be cut o one round trip per week, as will Sudbury-White River, Ontario, service.

Such an-board and in-station services such as baggage handling and restaurant access will also be curtailed.


Amtrak to Sell Bus-Only Tickets in California

February 3, 2020

The San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority has approved an Amtrak plan to sell bus-only tickets in California.

The Authority, which oversees Amtrak’s San Joaquin Service, agreed to allow the passenger carrier to sell the tickets on the Bakersfield-Oxnard-Santa Barbara and Bakersfield-Lancaster-Victorville routes.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed legislation ending the requirement that trips by Amtrak bus include at least a partial rail trip.

Other bus-only routes are likely to be added.

San Joaquin Authority May Consider Another Operator

November 27, 2019

Recent testimony before a congressional committee hinted that some California officials might be thinking about finding another operator for trains serving the San Joaquin Valley.

Amtrak has operated the San Joaquin service between Bakersfield and Oakland since 1974, but some on the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority are unhappy about the national passenger carrier’s lack of transparency as to costs.

During a hearing before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Authority’s executive director, Stacey Mortensen, said Amtrak charges three times as much per passenger to run the San Joaquin trains than Herzog Transit charges to handle the Altamont Corridor Express.

Mortensen also heads the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission.

In her testimony, Mortensen said her agency has asked Amtrak for cost-sharing and maintenance data for years but never received it.

“Our attempts to discuss these issues with various Amtrak leadership typically starts with, ‘We will look into it.’ Ultimately though the transition to defensiveness, resistance and then, in the end, futility,” Mortenson said.

“Amtrak, exceeds its own budget projections year after year with little or any explanation. Their only remedy has been to seek additional funding from our state,” she said.

A California television station asked Amtrak for comment on Mortenson’s testimony, but responded with a statement that said nothing of substance or illumination.

“We look forward to continuing to provide more information to state partners and serving more customers in California,” the Amtrak statement said.

Amtrak’s contract with the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority must be approved annually.

Mortensen indicated that the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority might look into finding another provider to operate passenger trains on the San Joaquin route.

New Amtrak California Thruway Route Being Planned

August 7, 2019

A spring 2020 startup date is expected for a new Amtrak Thruway bus service that will connect Madera, California, with San Jose.

Dan Leavitt, manager of regional initiatives for the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority, said the bus connection will cut the travel travel time buy an hour the San Francisco Bay Area compared with riding the train to Stockton and then transferring to buses or another train service to travel to San Jose.

“This is something that our constituents and partners in Kern County have been asking for a number of years,” Leavitt said. “We believe it will create a new market that isn’t being served today.”

The new Thruwauy route will be coordinated with Amtrak’s San Joaquin schedules.

Officials are eyeing operating two to three round trips daily between Madera and San Jose.

Buses would be awaiting northbound passengers arriving on the train at Madera. In San Jose passengers can transfer to Caltrain commuter rail service on the San Francisco Peninsula.

Buses coming to Madera from San Jose would be timed to meet southbound Amtrak trains through the Valley.

Several existing Thruway bus routes already serve the San Joaquin route, including service from Stockton to Sacramento and Oakland, and between Bakersfield and Los Angeles Union Station. Thruway buses from Hanford link Visalia, San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria.

San Joaquin Schedules to Change May 20

May 18, 2019

Amtrak will release a new schedule for its San Joaquin service on May 20 that will return service to seven roundtrips operating every two hours.

Five trains will operate between Bakersfield and Oakland, and two will run between Bakersfield and Sacramento.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the new schedule is as follows:

Train 701 will depart Bakersfield 4 hours and 3 minutes earlier than Train 1701’s original time. Train 1701 is cancelled.

Train 703 will depart 12 hours and 12 minutes later from Bakersfield. Train 711 will depart 8 minutes earlier from Bakersfield.

Train 713 and 717 will depart 48 minutes earlier from Bakersfield. Train 719 will depart 58 minutes earlier from Bakersfield.

Train 702 will depart 6 hours and 15 minutes earlier from Sacramento. Train 704 will depart 1 hour and 4 minutes earlier from Sacramento.

Train 710, 712 and 714 will depart 2 hours and 1 minute later from Oakland. Train 715 will depart 12 minutes later from Bakersfield.

Train 716 will depart 59 minutes earlier from Oakland. Train 718 will depart 19 minutes earlier from Oakland. Train 1718 is cancelled

David Lipari, marketing manager of the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority said in a statement that the schedule changes are, “Designed to improve on-time performance and connectivity across the Bay Area, Sacramento, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, we are proud to offer a more convenient and timely solution that meets the growing needs of riders.”