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Group seeks to stem Caltrain 'death spiral'

Original post made on Jan 31, 2011

More than 200 Friends of Caltrain met on Saturday (Jan. 29) to find ways to keep the Peninsula railway from going into what one transportation official called "a death spiral" that threatens to shut down the West's second oldest passenger train service.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, January 31, 2011, 11:01 AM

Comments (5)

Posted by Tired of paying for others mistakes, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 31, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Caltrain published ridership report shows a decline of ridership to a little over 36,000 ( not 40,000 as Ms Speier indicates) Also , why is there an assumption that all will then turn to a car and clog the freeway. Carpooling, buses and cycling are all alternatives. If the the Cal Train Board can not get out of the mess they got themselves into let it go under. Bad management decisions do not warrant a taxpayer bailout. Caltrain is not too big to fail.


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Should we let the Bay Bridge fail also because it can't pay for itself with tolls?


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jan 31, 2011 at 7:08 pm

That would be a good idea, Donald, if it truly cannot pay for itself with tolls.


Posted by Tired of paying for others mistakes, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 1, 2011 at 10:41 am

Posted by Donald, a resident of another community, 17 hours ago

Should we let the Bay Bridge fail also because it can't pay for itself with tolls?

Yes. Enough of this out of control spending. Revenues need to cover costs in full or costs cut. The choice is simple either trim cost or raise fares. If you raise fares too much you will most likely reduce usage. That leaves cutting expenses to get in line with revenue. It works, even Jerry Brown is embracing living within our means.


Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Feb 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I'll make this as simple as I can.

We residents and citizens on the Peninsula should support an effective public mass transit commuter service which we need.

However, there has been a lot of mismanagement at Caltrain. Their staff is top-heavy and overpaid. Why should the Caltrain CEO make as much salary as the President of the United States?

Therefore, before we tax ourselves to cover Caltrain's operating budget subsidies we need to demand they meet certain conditions:

1.We want an independent audit from Caltrain; a complete examination of their books.

2. We also want an independent management consulting firm that specializes in urban and regional mass transit to analyze and assess their organization and management structure, with recommendations for updating, especially for their financing.

3. We want to see a revised strategic plan from Caltrain conceived without high-speed rail participation. Also, especially under the current circumstances, we want a termination of the MOU agreement between Caltrain and the Rail Authority. There's no longer a reason for it.

4. We need them to drop their electrification obsession. DEMUs (see Wikipedia) will do almost the same job as electrification and EMUs, but for a great deal less capital development investment. It's our money and we want it spent wisely.

5. We want a complete restructuring of the non-functional, rubber-stamp JPB. We want elected representation from each and every city on the Caltrain corridor on such an expanded Board. And we want this Board empowered with greater decision-making, accountability and oversight authority.

6. We want a break-up of the several layers and overlapping organizations led by a single CEO. Too many pies, with only one and the same finger in them all. It reeks of multiple conflicts of interest. (Mike Scanlon, Executive director of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority and as the general manager/CEO of the San Mateo County Transit District. CEO of Caltrain. Board chair for the American Public Transportation Association.) That's a shell game and conflict of interest.

7. We want an airtight Caltrain agreement that they will not admit any other rail operators (besides UPRR and themselves) on the rail corridor without the concurrence of ALL the corridor cities.




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