New joint timetable available for regional commuter rail and Amtrak

As you may know, there are a variety of passenger trains rolling throughout Southern California: Metrolink in the L.A. metro area, the Coaster and Sprinter in San Diego County and Amtrak, the national railroad connecting cities in California to the rest of the U.S.

The four different railroads have historically each maintained their own timetables, making it tricky for Jane Citizen to quickly figure out what might be the quickest or most convenient way to take a train from here-to-there.

To remedy that issue, the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridors Agency has created a timetable that covers all four railroads. Neat idea, people! Outside of transit circles, the agency is a bit obscure but their core mission is easy to understand: improve regional rail service.

Here’s the new timetable (pdf download here) with a hat tip to Dana Gabbard at L.A. Streetsblog:

Joint Timetable

16 replies

  1. This is a pretty good thing to have… I realize they’re all different agencies, but I’d love to see some sort of consolidated price structure within the corridor (other than the Rail2Rail for monthly pass holders).

    This could be great for a “weekend pass” that works on Metrolink, Coaster, and Amtrak.

  2. Consolidated fare structures ain’t going to happen anytime soon. Just look at the municipal bus agencies bickering over each other with TAP, EZ-Pass, and fare pricing at the local level. If it can’t be done there, what makes you think Amtrak, Metrolink and Coaster will cooperate as well?

    In addition, it’s like LA’s TAP is compatible with San Diego’s Compass Cards or San Francisco Clipper Cards either. There’s really no consensus or standardization going on so everyone is free to make up their own rules, regulations, fare policies, and rate structures. In the end, it’s just makes things so confusing than it’s meant to be.

    The only way this will happen is when the State of California does something like “In the State of California, it costs X cents per mile, adjusted every X years for inflation, to travel on mass transit and everyone transit agency has to follow that rate, no exceptions.”

  3. Frank, great point on the TAP system not being compatible with the SD system.

    It’s too bad you can’t use your stored cash on the trains down there… It’s all the same hardware as far as I can tell, so it should physically work. It’d be wonderful if people agencies could work together at a higher level to transfer cash between one another should I spend some of my LA Metro stored value on a SD Trolley.

    I do think it’s ok if different agencies (especially between wider regions such as LA and SD) have different fare structures for normal rides though, because transit it worth different amounts in different places, even on a per-mile basis I’d say. I think it’s far more valuable here in LA, where it’s also cheaper, than it is in SD so I do give props to Metro for being one of the best values a transit ticket can buy.

  4. The timetable consolidation should be implemented in other regions as well, not just So. Cal. Amtrak should take the lead in this effort if they want to survive and not to suffer the same failures as the Postal Service. Amtrak should also be the one to reach out to regional transit agencies to accept electronic fares as well Amtrak needs to grow its ridership more than the mass transit systems.

  5. Can’t get past the password prompt in response to tapping the download button (down with Facebook and Scribd passwords!), but the “proper URL” above worked – thanks!

  6. I have my doubts that a regional fare system that everyone can agree upon is possible.

    However, this timetable does show that yes, regional and local rail agencies CAN work together if they would just put their bureaucratic turf wars aside. I would love to add Metrolink and Amtrak to my TAP card.

    It’s obvious that the hardware is not the problem.

  7. They still need to work on a few things with the timetable.

    As for fares. Im not sure amtrak would go with it.

    Amtrak, Caltrans and Metrolink has let Rail2Rail die.

  8. Well this is great! Looks better than my homemade compiled schedules. It’s so much cheaper (than Amtrak to travel LA-SD) to get a Metrolink weekend pass and then take the Coaster from Oceanside. I wish that weekend pass were valid on Amtrak!!!

  9. I’m all for interagency cooperation when they find such to be beneficial, but the last thing we need is micromanagement from Sacramento. Let Governor Brown and the General Assembly get their own house in order before they start dictating fares to LACMA, Metrolink and Muni agencies.

  10. You can take the train from New York to Philadelphia by taking two commuter trains. You take New Jersey Transit’s train from New York to Trenton. You make an across the platform transfer and take SEPTA’s train from Trenton to Philadelphia. You save a bundle on train fare, and you can choose from multiple stations, especially in Philadelphia and nearby. It’s two separate fares, but the schedules of the trains are coordinated. I’ve always hoped that the Coaster and Metrolink could be scheduled to meet each other in Oceanside.

  11. This is a very handy tool, but the title is somewhat deceiving. “Southern California Passenger Rail SYSTEM MAP and TIMETABLES” implies that it includes timetables for all of the routes shown on the system map. Instead, it only shows the timetables for the routes serving the LOSSAN Corridor. The title should be “Southern California Passenger Rail SYSTEM MAP and LOSSAN Corridor TIMETABLES”. (Also, it would be nice if they could show the LA Metro light rail lines, but I understand that LA Metro didn’t contribute to this product.)