Caltrain likely to keep weekend service


Caltrain is likely to keep two of its services instead of cutting them as previously discussed to help close a $2.3 million budget gap, a Caltrain spokesman said Friday.

Services to Gilroy and weekend services are likely to remain, at least until next July, Caltrain Executive Director Michael Scanlon said.

"Based on estimates of the potential cost savings and input from our customers, we would like to preserve these two important services," he said.

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

Caltrain officials are still considering other service cuts, including a reduction of weekday early morning, midday, and late evening service.

Other proposals include a redefinition of youth to ages 17 years and younger. Currently, high school students who are 18 years old still qualify for youth-related discounts.

A formal public hearing at the Caltrain headquarters in San Carlos is scheduled for Thursday (Sept. 2).

— Bay City News Service

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Mike Livermore
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:56 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.

Like this comment
Posted by commuter
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 30, 2010 at 5:02 pm

I can't believe a $2 million public transit budget gap is such a big problem when the Bay Area is spending hundreds of millions of dollars annually on highway projects. Do the drill baby drill people run our local transportation budgets?

Like this comment
Posted by iphonegerrl
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 30, 2010 at 7:21 pm

The whole reason I moved to PA is because I can live here without a car. Seriously. I depend on Caltrain to get to San Jose and San Francisco to work - for daily errands I can bike.

I would rather pay more in fares to preserve the current schedule than lose any more service. Being able to live car-free is deeply important to me and PA is really the only place on the Peninsula you can do that, thanks to Caltrain.

I'm stunned that there isn't green money or stimulus money enough for Caltrain!

Like this comment
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Aug 30, 2010 at 10:27 pm


It is because there ae a lot of people like Mike Livermore.

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 31, 2010 at 1:32 am

The CalTrain lowball. I question the CalTrain figure of only 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 according to the CalTrain figure. 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(which includes - fuel, maintenance, crew, depreciation, station an dispatch staff, etc)!
No wonder the system is going broke if this is how they do their accounting.
It's just more funny numbers and bs from the folks who bring you CalTrain and the folks who want to bring you HSR!

Like this comment
Posted by David Bloom
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2010 at 8:41 am


I know it sounds unintuitive, but here are two reasons why it would really only save $209,000 for Caltrain to cut weekend service.

First, you mentioned maintenance and depreciation costs as reasons why the $209,000 figure sounds too low. In fact, these are costs that Caltrain incurs whether or not they provide weekend service.

Second, farebox revenue for weekend service is very high. According to Caltrain, weekend riders are much more likely to purchase one-way or day-pass tickets (instead of the discounted 8-ride tickets or monthly passes used by weekday commuters, which are sold at a 15% discount).

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:24 am

Thanks David
I stand corrected on depreciation, however cut weekend service less wear and tear thus less maintenance is needed during the year as equipment usage is down.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:01 am

It seems like a fundamental supply and demand issue. At the end of the day if there are not enough riders then why run the trains?

Further, if there are not enough riders to support either weekends or non-peak hour trains today, then why paid $90,000,000,000 for high speed rail?

Like this comment
Posted by JM
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:06 am

I second Mike Livermore.

Like this comment
Posted by Martin
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 31, 2010 at 1:37 pm

That's a real shame!! Caltrain has a real opportunity here to open the weekends up to electrification work, so that we can have a rebuilt system, ready for the future.

Now, a few short-sided complainers are dragging Caltrain into bankruptcy, with the possibility of no return.

Wake up, people. When is the last time you rode on a half full plane?

Like this comment
Posted by David Bloom
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2010 at 3:08 pm


To keep the CEMOF workload consistent, Caltrain's routine maintenance schedule for rolling stock is based on days, not miles. Because Caltrain needs much less rolling stock to be active simultaneously on weekends than on weekdays, it can be selective about which trainsets its uses in order to even out their usage between maintenances and avoid rolling stock that is acting up.

Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 1, 2010 at 10:35 am

Save the trains. They provide the only efficient way to get to San Francisco and San Jose.

Like this comment
Posted by DZ
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Sep 2, 2010 at 6:42 am

Hi John, Caltrain is no way to be efficent. Think about it, if it is really efficent, how can it not making money?

Like this comment
Posted by efficient?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 2, 2010 at 8:34 am

Highway 101 does not make money either. Should it be shut down because it is not efficient?

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 2, 2010 at 8:51 am

Caltrain has the potential for being completely efficient, but they have no vision.

They need to have an advertising budget.

Their baby bullets are great for those who need to get to SF and SJ, but they need to think about improving service for shorter commutes. 3 station commutes which straddle zones are not on, likewise waiting 1 hour between 3 station commutes is too long.

They need to think of ways of getting riders for events. "Let Caltrain take the Strain", "Take Caltrain to the Game", "Concerts work fine with Caltrain next time". Caltrain for events makes a great deal of sense as parking and traffic are always difficult. At present using the train doesn't occur to many eventers.

Sightseeing deals after 10.00 am and even field trip rates for student groups, family rates, and airport specials, could be advertised also and become very lucrative.

Caltrain could work because this area is fairly unique as every station along its length is close to housing and jobs. Commuters are not people traveling into the city for work, but are people who need to travel partways, and these people's needs should be considered and tapped.

Caltrain also needs to lobby VTA and SamTrans for coordinating busroutes. The stations should be the destinations and each bus should arrive before a train and leave after that train to make it easy to use both.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

If you do nothing else, do These Three Things
By Sherry Listgarten | 36 comments | 2,082 views

Lentil Brownies
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 511 views

Finding Balance
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 301 views


Vote now!

It's time once again to cast your vote for the best places to eat, drink, shop and spend time in Palo Alto. Voting is open now through May 27. Watch for the results of our 2019 Best Of contest on Friday, July 19.