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on Aug 2, 2012
Caltrain ridership is soaring, which is good for revenue, but but trains are overflowing during rush hour. Paying passengers are being turned away. What is Caltrain doing to increase capacity during commute hours? If full trains become the norm and passengers cannot count on getting on the trains, then large numbers will just start driving again and abandon Caltrain for good. Adding off-hour trains may be useful to some people, but the vast majority of train riders don't have huge amounts of flexibility in their work schedules.
Dear full trains: It's a great question and we are, indeed, worried about the overcrowding on trains and the impact on our customers. That's why we will be adding six trains, as the story notes. Hopefully, that will give people more options and relieve some the pressure on peak-hour trains.
Thanks for riding Caltrain.
Executive Officer for Public Affairs
Good new for passing new mile stone of 50000 weekday ridership. As we know Caltrain electrification happens as early as 2019, how Caltrain will handle the pressure of increasing demand? We are OK with crowded train if Caltrain have short term strategy. I am afraid if Caltrain have plan no improvement until 2019.
Hi Caltrain commuter -- our ability to add service will depend almost entirely on funding. We are adding six trains in the fall largely because of increased revenues due to the record ridership. But four of those trains are restoring service we cut a year ago when we had a large budget deficit. Another economic downturn and we could be facing the same kind of cuts. Indeed, Caltrain does not have a permanent, dedicated source of funding and we need to solve that problem or the railroad will always be financially precarious. So, to directly answer your question, we have plans for financial stability and from those we will plan service improvements, but it's all contingent on solving the budget problems.
Thanks for being a Caltrain commuter.
Executive Officer for Public Affairs
I appreciate Mark Simon's (Caltrain) thoughtful comments to earlier postings.
Re increasing service during rush hours, would it be better to increase the number of cars, from 5 to 6, rather than adding trains. It seems like it would be more efficient in energy and labor.
I think there is an issue that not all stations are long enough to accommodate a longer train. However, most I've been to do seem to have adequate length, and perhaps the 6th car might not open its doors at the shorter stations and have signage showing which stations it stops at (perhaps in green) and which not (red).
Longer trains do nothing to rebuild the gap in local train service during peak commute times. The baby bullets are great for longer hauls, but without local routing between them, their usability is limited.
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