By Noel T. Braymer
Could California make money running passenger trains in the near future?
The LOSSAN Joint Powers Authority recently came out with a draft for its Business Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-18 and 2018-19. In this proposed Business Plan is a lot of information about recent ridership and revenue growth for the Pacific Surfliner trains which LOSSAN oversees. Most telling is the improvement in the Farebox Cost recovery. By law the Pacific Surfliner must earn at least 55% of its costs from the farebox. For fiscal year 2012-13 the Surfliner’s farebox recovery was 61.7%, for 2013-14 67.1%, for 2014-15 70.5% and for the last fiscal year 2015-16 it was 78.8%. Now when comparing farebox recovery over the years for the Surfliners, the problem is what Amtrak charges the State has changed and increased many times since the 1970’s when California first supported rail passenger service between Los Angeles…
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