Caltrain turned in record ridership -- and revenues to match -- last year, but passengers may not see the payoff until at least 2014, a spokesman for the transportation agency has said.
Even after two fare hikes since 2005, nearly 11 million people rode Caltrain between July 1, 2006, and June 30, 2007, with $34.9 million in ticket and pass sales, said spokesman Jonah Weinberg. More than 10 million people rode Caltrain the previous year, providing $30.4 million in revenues.
But despite record numbers of passengers and earnings in each of the past two fiscal years, "Caltrain still faces a structural deficit that it must work to overcome,'' Weinberg said.
In the short term, the agency plans to buy eight new rail cars, but can't significantly expand capacity or frequency of train service until the system is electrified, a changeover scheduled for 2014, Weinberg said.
Then, lighter electric trains will decrease commute times and also allow Caltrain to double its current number of weekday trains, according to Weinberg.