The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine profiles several "extreme" commuters from San Francisco to Sacramento aboard the Amtrak Capital Corridor train. Complete with great photos and anecdotes, it portrays the Amtrak bus and train ride quite accurately.
"The Capitol Corridor is a line made possible by the voters, who in 1990 approved Prop. 116 to provide state funding for intercity passenger rail service. Until 1998, there were only four trains each direction per day and the morning commute was essentially westbound only. Now there are 16 roundtrips. The State of California owns the rolling stock, Union Pacific owns the tracks, BART supplies administration, Amtrak staffs the trains and stations and a joint powers authority oversees it. The Capitol Corridor is like Caltrain with more layers of agencies
Between four morning trains, 1,000 passengers ride from the Bay Area to Sacramento daily. Emeryville is by far the busiest station, with 135 daily commuters."
"The fare from San Francisco is $24 one-way. Half the passengers buy blocks of tickets, bringing it down to $14 one-way. Unlike Amtrak lines, there is no federal money involved in the Capitol Corridor. Its $40 million budget comes from passenger fares and the state, on a 50-50 split
At least two of the regulars on the 6:40 have some indirect connection to funding - Bourgart, 62, whose agency oversees Caltrans, a major funding source of the Capitol Corridor, and Crane, 54, who serves on the high-speed rail authority. To be sure everything goes smoothly, Gene Skoropowski, managing director of the Capitol Corridor, boards the train in Martinez."
"Crane started by driving to the Capitol, but switched to the train four years ago. "Because you can work so pleasantly in the train, it's delightful," he says, "as long as you like to work."