News - October 13, 2010

Caltrain hikes fares, cuts service

In an effort to close a $2.3 million budget gap, the Caltrain Board of Directors has approved fare increases and service reductions.

Caltrain, used by about 38,000 riders every weekday, is trying to close the gap by eliminating some routes and increasing fares and pass prices effective Jan. 1, spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

The changes, approved by the board Oct. 7, were discussed at three community meetings in August and a public hearing in September, Ms. Dunn said.

"Most people were in favor of increasing the fare and keeping as much service as possible," Ms. Dunn said.

Starting Jan. 1, the fare for each zone will rise 25 cents. Fares for travel within the same zone will stay the same. The change is expected to raise about $1.4 million a year, she said.

Caltrain expects to save about $160,000 by eliminating four trains between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. weekdays. The northbound 237 and 257 trains and southbound 236 and 256 lines will not run during those hours starting Jan. 1.

Another $600,000 is expected to be saved by eliminating ticket offices at the San Francisco and San Jose Diridon stations starting Oct. 11, she said. Riders could use ticket vending machines at those stations.

Also starting Jan. 1, Caltrain will launch a three-month pilot project to test express weekend service, she said.

The pilot project will cost Caltrain about $107,000. That money will come from savings from lower fuel prices, she said.

The board also voted to increase the on-board bicycle capacity of many trains. All trains will two bike cars, which adds one 40-bike gallery car to trains that now have only one, she said.

— Bay City News Service


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