Albuquerque New Mexico Rail Runner Railrunner

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby ne plus ultra » Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:26 pm

Bobbyj wrote:While Rail Runner is a very good idea--economics are about to play a big part in its future.
One: A University of N.M. economics professor claims that Rail Runner will hit (by the end of 2009), a cost overrun of about a Billion Dollars

Weird that the only yahoo reference in all the internets to such a thing links back to a post in "American Rails Forum" in 2007 by someone also named "Bobby".

Are you really still trying to flog a study from years ago that didn't actually pan out, and presenting it as if it's fresh today? There are no news articles about cost overruns for the Rail Runner -- at all. And the cost figures I see suggest that the total costs were in the hundreds of millions. I think your post is false.
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby ne plus ultra » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:52 pm

Bobbyj wrote:All in all, any more expansion of Rail Runner, (it is believed that ridership has hit its highest level already), with not be forthcoming.


Bobbyj, meet Realityj:

Rail Runner Expands Service
Beginning Labor Day, trains to operate 7 days a week:
http://www.santafenewmexican.com/Local% ... Railrunner

The article says there'll be 3 trains in each direction on Sunday. The schedule has not yet been finalized, according to the Rail Runner website. There are 6 trains each way on Saturdays. As I understand it, Saturday is the most popular day for this train, and Sunday service should vastly increase interest in Saturday trips, since it allows for an overnight.

My expectation will be that this will quickly become a hit with travelers, and will cut significantly into air traffic to Santa Fe. A lot of skiers use Santa Fe as an acclimation point (since the New Mexico areas are very high, and you need a day or two to adapt to the altitude before skiing. That makes a train to Santa Fe a reasonable way to get close to Taos, etc.
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby ne plus ultra » Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:44 pm

The wiki article says that Railrunner reached it's 1 millionth passenger in July 2008 (after about 2 years of service), and it's 2 millionth passenger in early June 2009.

Though you have to assume that the annualized average is considerably higher than 1 million/year, given that the extension only took place in December, or midway through the period in which they took in 1 million riders.
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby SlowFreight » Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:11 pm

NM 599 station in Santa Fe is now open for business, but Zia road station has had the platform fenced off and I have been told it will not be opened. Makes no sense having gone to the effort to build it.
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby neroden » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:44 pm

SlowFreight wrote:NM 599 station in Santa Fe is now open for business, but Zia road station has had the platform fenced off and I have been told it will not be opened. Makes no sense having gone to the effort to build it.


I believe the plan all along was for it to be opened "after" a local development plan was finished. Said plan seems to be taking forever.
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby electricron » Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:28 pm

neroden wrote:I believe the plan all along was for it to be opened "after" a local development plan was finished. Said plan seems to be taking forever.


Per http://www.allbusiness.com/real-estate/commercial-residential-property/11825602-1.html
Thursday, August 7 2008
By Julie Ann Grimm The Santa Fe New Mexican
After long debate, state and local officials agreed to authorize a train station at the site as one of four in the Santa Fe area. However, the state won't stop trains at Zia until the developer has infrastructure in place and secures the necessary permits. Brown said he does not expect to get city approvals until next summer or fall.

Getting city approvals by next summer or fall would be as late as December 2009. No suggested time was given for actually getting sufficient infrastructure in place.

The Zia station will eventually open......What's cool about the developer's plan project is that it'll be the first TOD in Santa Fe. I also wish to add that a great TOD will require some changes of the city's zoning laws.

So there are potential delays from several sources.......
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby superbad » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:08 pm

anyone know anything about the proposal to run railrunner from el paso to las cruces? I presume that if this happens, at first it will be a local commuter rail operation and then it will eventually connect to the existing railrunner line.
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby electricron » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:38 pm

superbad wrote:anyone know anything about the proposal to run railrunner from el paso to las cruces? I presume that if this happens, at first it will be a local commuter rail operation and then it will eventually connect to the existing railrunner line.


The last I have heard on that corridor was
http://www.gazette.com/news/-58219--.html
Colorado will partner with New Mexico and Texas to apply for a high-speed rail corridor designation between El Paso and Denver, through New Mexico, Gov. Bill Ritter announced Thursday.

Looks like everyone is looking for some Federal funds to expand passenger rail on this corridor....
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby ne plus ultra » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:41 am

This article got something very wrong. I don't know the actual figures, but I know what is written here, and presumably aired on the newscast, is drastically inaccurate.

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S131 ... ml?cat=504

The article says that Rail Runner had 1.35 million passengers or so in the last year, but brought in only $2 million in fares. The average fare is nowhere near as low as $1.50. Does anyone have the actual farebox recovery amount?
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby electricron » Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:42 am

ne plus ultra wrote:This article got something very wrong. I don't know the actual figures, but I know what is written here, and presumably aired on the newscast, is drastically inaccurate.

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S131 ... ml?cat=504

The article says that Rail Runner had 1.35 million passengers or so in the last year, but brought in only $2 million in fares. The average fare is nowhere near as low as $1.50. Does anyone have the actual farebox recovery amount?


Rail Runner spokeswoman Augusta Meyers said out of last fiscal year's $21 million operating budget for the train, about $1.9 million came from ticket sales. Most of the money, about $17 million, was from the federal government's Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program.

Source: http://www.abqjournal.com/cgi-bin/decision.pl?attempted=www.abqjournal.com/news/state/172247278803newsstate12-17-09.htm

Looking at the Rail Runner fares, why are you surprised the average fares are less than $2.00?
http://www.nmrailrunner.com/tickets.asp
Let's say I bought the Monthly Pass online. I ride the train for 5 days for 4 weeks, that's 20 days and 40 trips.
1 Zone $25, Fare per trip = 63 cents
2 Zones $40, Fare per trip = $1.
3 Zones $55, Fare per trip = $1.38
4 Zones $85, Fare per trip = $2.13
5 Zones $90, Fare per trip = $2.25
6 Zones $100, Fare per trip = $2.50

If I rode the train on weekends too, my average fare would be even smaller.

Image
Most daily commuting passengers are riding just 1 or 2 Zones. It's 5 zones from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby ne plus ultra » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:25 am

Well, there's a different reason those figures are so low. While electric Ron is correct that fares are pretty low, and no doubt that many or most people are traveling just 1 or 2 zones, another extremely important factor is this:

>On December 17, 2008, service to Santa Fe started with a three-month period of free service for Santa Fe County residents

So a huge number of the riders paid no fare at all, which has a way of bringing the average fare down. Next year, the average should be over $2. The budget predicts farebox recovery of $2.6 million for Fiscal Year 2010.

Seems like fares are too low, though. I can't believe you could take a 194-mile round trip for $8. The fares seem ridiculously low for every potential trip. It looks to me like a within-zone roundtrip taken on the same day, ticket purchased on-line, is just 50 cents each way. What are they thinking?
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby neroden » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:57 am

ne plus ultra wrote:Seems like fares are too low, though. I can't believe you could take a 194-mile round trip for $8. The fares seem ridiculously low for every potential trip. It looks to me like a within-zone roundtrip taken on the same day, ticket purchased on-line, is just 50 cents each way. What are they thinking?


Maybe they're supposed to be introductory teaser prices?

Dangerous, though. Raising fares has historically been far too difficult for public transportation even when it's obviously necessary (the ten cent subway fare in NYC being the most famous example). Portland's automatic yearly inflation adjustments seem to be the only way to get even inflation adjustments passed without a fight.
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby goodnightjohnwayne » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:29 pm

ne plus ultra wrote:Well, there's a different reason those figures are so low. While electric Ron is correct that fares are pretty low, and no doubt that many or most people are traveling just 1 or 2 zones, another extremely important factor is this:

>On December 17, 2008, service to Santa Fe started with a three-month period of free service for Santa Fe County residents

So a huge number of the riders paid no fare at all, which has a way of bringing the average fare down. Next year, the average should be over $2. The budget predicts farebox recovery of $2.6 million for Fiscal Year 2010.

Seems like fares are too low, though. I can't believe you could take a 194-mile round trip for $8. The fares seem ridiculously low for every potential trip. It looks to me like a within-zone roundtrip taken on the same day, ticket purchased on-line, is just 50 cents each way. What are they thinking?


It looks as if the entire point of this giveaway, or near giveaway, fare structure is to artificially enhance ridership numbers. As long as the Federal taxpayers are the shouldering most of the financial burden, you won't see major local opposition. After all, who can argue with a free ride? The trouble is going to begin when the state and local taxpayers have to pick up the costs of subsidizing an operation without meaningful fare box recovery. The current fares are nothing short of a joke, since the passengers are only pay less than 1/10 of the cost per mile of some established commuter railroads. Of course, Railrunner really isn't a commuter operation, it's more of an intercity passenger railroad posing as a commuter line.

You really do have to wonder just how many people would ride Railrunner if the fare structure reflected reality? Multiply the current fares by a factor of five or ten for a realistic rate of farebox recovery.
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby electricron » Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:08 pm

Railrunner fares in the future will be more subsidized by local sales taxes, which the voters approved last year. Railrunner fares are being reviewed this year by the Board.
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Re: Alberquerque, New Mexico: Railrunner

Postby neroden » Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:36 pm

goodnightjohnwayne wrote:You really do have to wonder just how many people would ride Railrunner if the fare structure reflected reality? Multiply the current fares by a factor of five or ten for a realistic rate of farebox recovery.


Well, I think it would still be pretty popular, given the Santa Fe - ABQ bottleneck. Especially now that people have gotten used to it (teaser pricing does work).

They should bite the bullet and increase fares before people get too used to the current prices. If the goal is 'congestion mitigation' I can see an argument for pricing it somewhat cheaper than gas for the trip in a decent car, but that should get the maximum number of people off the roads so I can't see the argument for making it much cheaper than that.
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