Local commuter passenger rail services and Southern California
The New Haven Register reports ("Commuters call Metro-North Waterbury branch ‘an outhouse on wheels’") that people on the Waterbury line of the MTA commuter railroad service in Connecticut (run by New York State in conjunction with the State of Connecticut) that the service is substandard, which has resulted in dropping ridership.
Like the contrast between the Pacific Surfliner and regular Amtrak service, Southern California commuter railroad services have a newness advantage over "legacy" services in the Northeast and Maryland (I haven't ridden the Virginia Railway Express) in that they have newer cars and have invested in marketing, wi-fi and other services, whereas comparable railroad passenger services in the Northeast (oh, and Metra too in Chicago) have been shaped more by how railroad passenger services used to be run by the for profit railroads "back in the day," rather than in the era of maxi marketing and competition from multiple modes.
Granted, I didn't ride from Orange County to Los Angeles, which has much greater ridership, I rode from Orange County to San Diego, on Metrolink to Oceanside in San Diego County, where I transferred to the Coaster, which is run separately from Metrolink, by the North County Transportation District in San Diego County.
The Metrolink was pretty empty. The Coaster was not so empty. Metrolink trains are known also for their bike accommodations. Both have wif-fi and some tables in cars.
Granted, the ridership levels on MTA (Greater New York State), NJ Transit, SEPTA (Pennsylvania), MARC (Maryland to DC), Metra (Greater Chicago) are likely much higher than some of the services in California.
Still, it would be worth considering a marketing and service upgrade for East Coast railroad passenger services.... and wi-fi (not on MARC, VRE, or SEPTA).
Metrolink runs a number of promotions in association with professional sporting events.
Metrolink service map.
Metrolink denotes train cars for bikes with a logo or full train wrap.