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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Caltrain approves fare hike, service cuts


Caltrain recently approved a series of fare and service changes designed to help the agency close a $2.3 million budget gap in fiscal-year 2010.

On Jan. 1, the agency will increase fares for each zone by 25 cents, and adjust multi-ride tickets and passes accordingly. The cost of a one-way ticket from San Francisco to San Jose, Calif., will rise from $7.75 to $8.50. The increase is expected to generate about $1.4 million in additional revenue this year, the agency said.

In addition, Caltrain will increase the price of a Go Pass, an employer-sponsored annual pass that offers unlimited rides on the commuter-rail system, from $140 to $155. That hike is expected to generate another $150,000 this year.

Also on Jan. 1, the agency will eliminate four mid-day trains, saving $160,000.

To help close the budget gap, Caltrain also will close its ticket offices at the San Francisco and San Jose Diridon stations on Oct. 11, saving another $600,000. Passengers will be able to purchase fare media at ticket vending machines.

During the past two years, Caltrain has implemented various measures to reduce budget shortfalls, such as laying off employees, freezing salaries, issuing furlough days and implementing a hiring freeze for most non-essential positions.

Meanwhile, Caltrain’s board last week approved a three-month pilot project to test weekend express service. The pilot project — which is based on public recommendations — will cost $107,000 and be offset by fuel savings accrued this year, according to the agency.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/11/2010