Wednesday, September 01, 2010

CalTrain needs your input on proposed changes

Note from Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager about CalTrain:

On September 2 at 10 a.m., Caltrain will hold a public hearing to review options and receive comments on possible fare and service changes. Caltrain is the only Bay Area transit agency without a dedicated source of funding, and it is facing a $2.3 million deficit in this fiscal year. The other members of the Board of Directors and I would like to hear your opinion on proposals for closing the gap.

Caltrain’s budget problems can be attributed to several factors. The commuter railroad has lost $10 million in state funds each year for the last three years. Last year the state eliminated State Transportation Assistance funds, forcing Caltrain’s three partners – the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Mateo County Transit District and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority – to reduce their support.

Based on public input up to this point, two proposals will no longer be considered for this year. Those include cutting weekend service and ending service South of Tamien Station to Gilroy. However, the following proposals are still under consideration:
  • Reduce weekday early morning, midday and/or late evening service
  • Discontinue staffed ticket offices
  • Increase fares
  • Modify parking fees and regulations
Last year, eight midday trains were eliminated and parking fees were increased to close a $2.6 million budget gap. In addition to a hiring freeze on all but the most essential positions, salaries have been frozen and staff will take a total of 17 mandatory furlough days. Unfortunately, the financial outlook for Caltrain is not likely to improve much next year, and more cuts will likely be considered then.

The public hearing will be held at the Caltrain Administrative Office at 1250 San Carlos Ave. in San Carlos. Prior to the meeting, you can email comments to You can also send your thoughts to me at Fuller details of the proposed changes can be found at

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