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Caltrain's board has awarded a $32 million contract to Proven Management Inc. for the South San Francisco Station improvement project. The project involves track and signal work, along with the installation of a new 700-foot center boarding platform. The work also will provide a connection to a new pedestrian underpass from the platform to Grand Avenue/Poletti Drive.The improvements are aimed at increasing connectivity along Grand Avenue, Caltrain officials said in a press release. In addition, the work will enable the railroad to eliminate the station's "hold-out rule," which prohibits trains from passing through the station if a train in the opposite direction has stopped for passengers. Scheduled to start in October, the project is expected to be completed in two years. The project's overall budget is $61 million.Meanwhile, Caltrain's board approved fare and parking fee increases as of Oct. 1. Caltrain's fares are based on the number of zones traveled. Under the changes, the cost of traveling within one zone remains the same, but fares for additional travel increase by 25 cents per zone. A complete list of fare changes can be found here.The cost of monthly parking will increase to $82.50 from $55. The price hikes are needed to increase revenue for Caltrain's operating costs. The cost of operating and maintaining the service has increased as Caltrain works to accommodate record-setting ridership and maintain its aging diesel locomotives, railroad officials said.Fare revenue covers about 66 percent of Caltrain's operating costs. The railroad's member agencies also contribute to the operating needs of the system, but those contributions have declined in recent years and aren't sufficient to support current service. Even with the fare increase, Caltrain will need to use more than $8 million in reserves to maintain operations in fiscal year 2018. The railroad is projected to use another $7 million in fiscal year 2019.Caltrain proposed the fare increases in May.
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