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Caltrain likely to keep weekend service

Original post made on Aug 30, 2010

Caltrain is likely to keep weekend service and service to Gilroy, at least until next July, instead of cutting them as previously discussed to help close a $2.3 million budget gap, a Caltrain spokesman said Friday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 30, 2010, 9:48 AM

Comments (16)

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Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm

This quote is just mind-boggling.

>Cutting service to Gilroy would save Caltrain $385,000 annually,
>spokeswoman Christine Dunn said. Cutting weekend service would
>save $209,000 annually, she added.

What percentage of the operating budget do those cost savings represent? Why is Caltrain whacking service levels to save a microscopic amount of money, while ignoring the elephant in the room of excessive employee and administrative costs? Perhaps Caltrain does not realize this, but we suffer its existence to provide train service, not to feather the beds of its union employees and their management.

Truly amazing.


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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Has Caltrain though about just operating Baby Bullet Service on the weekends hourly and only stop at Mountain View, Palo Alto, Hillsdale, and Millbrae?


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Posted by Tristan
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Damn! - so much for quiet weekends without the train noise.


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Posted by Mike Livermore
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Bummer, I was looking forward to nice quiet weekends starting October!

Looks like we are going to have to deal with Caltrain's noise and safety hazard a little longer until hopefully, they go bankrupt over the next couple of years.


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Posted by Isolde
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Lets just hope that HSR does not get funded due to California's abysmal bond rating.


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Posted by John Murphy
a resident of another community
on Aug 30, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Hank -

A group of Caltrain riders is trying to get Caltrain to go to weekend bullet service. This would save money and increase ridership. Like Joseph points out - the gap in funding is not large.

The online petition regarding weekend express service is here.

Web Link


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 30, 2010 at 4:11 pm

So Hank and John - how in the world is switching to Bullet Train service on the weekends going to save money? You still have the same number of trains. You aren't saving any crew salaries and your not saving any station salaries or admin or infrastructure or dispatch. You won't save any fuel.
Me thinks the train noise has addled your minds.
You want to save money then you need to change to every two hours - but even that won't save much.
Best bet - cancel the weekend service and bring some peace and quiet to the rail corridor.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 30, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I question the CalTrain figure of saving $209,000 annually by cutting weekend service. There are 52 weekends a year or 104 weekend days - that works out to a savings of $2,000 per weekend day. Using the current schedule that's 30 trains per day (15 each direction).
Does CalTrain expect us to believe that it only costs $66.67 to operate each train trip!
That's just more funny numbers and bs from the folks who bring you CalTrain and the folks who want to bring you HSR!


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Posted by Adam Selene
a resident of another community
on Aug 30, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Some fuel could be saved by running express trains. Acceleration requires a lot of energy. A train with fewer stops will get better mileage.

The main benefit would be increased revenue. Faster trains attract more riders.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 30, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Adam - you'll lose all the fuel savings with the higher speeds for the Bullet. And the Bullet might get more ridership at the Bullet stops but will lose the ridership from the stops it cuts.


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Posted by Adam Selene
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:54 am

The "bullet" has the same top speed as local trains, 79MPH. It has a higher average speed due to fewer stops. It uses less fuel/mile, just like a car on the highway gets better mileage than a car on city streets, even though the highway car is traveling much faster. The city car gets poor mileage because it stops and goes frequently, burning lots of fuel each time it accelerates.

Also, $209,000 is probably correct. Remember they will also be losing revenue if they cut service. Weekend operating expenses minus weekend revenue = $209,000 saved.


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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 31, 2010 at 10:02 am

Whenever I ride a baby bullet I notice that the occupancy is nearly SRO. While there is almost always plenty of seats on the locals.

A train will use far more fuel making stops and starts and traveling at a lower speed than by going 79 miles an hour with just a few stops. That is not even close. A body in motion will tend to stay in motion unless impacted by an outside force. The force of the aerodynamic drag on the train is minimal compared to the force required to bring a massive train from a complete stop up to speed.

So the baby bullet wins on two accounts:
1) Load factor
2) fuel consumption


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Posted by David Boyce
Almanac staff writer
on Sep 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm

David Boyce is a registered user.

Adam Selene is correct.

Caltrain revenues for weekend service are $5.077 million, given an estimated ridership of 1,430,000 paying an average of $3.55, according to Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn.

The expenses are $5.496 million, which includes operating and maintenance crews; equipment, station and track maintenance, fuel and security, Ms. Dunn said.

The difference of $419,000 per year in expenses is halved for the six-month estimated savings of $209,000 (rounded down).


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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 1, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Adam Selene is correct for computing the savings on weekend local service vs. no service at all.

Adam Selene is incorrect in stating that weekend local service saves more money than weekend baby bullet service. His assertion that local service with the low load factor and higher fuel consumption is more cost effective than baby bullet service with the high load factor and lower fuel cost. [Portion removed. Stick to the topic.]


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Posted by Adam Selene
a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Hank,

On the contrary, I agree with everything you wrote. I think replacing some of the locals with baby bullets is a good idea and worth a try. Sorry for the confusion.

~Adam


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Posted by Craig
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2010 at 6:40 pm

I think baby bullets stopping in SJ,Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Mateo, Millbrae and SF could be a hit on weekends, with movies, restaurants on peninsula and everything that can be done in SF and SJ. No driving and no parking. Since they pay the staff by the hour and the trains are faster than locals the only marginal cost is the additional fuel of running more bullet trips in between local trips.


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