The Chronicle reports today that Caltrain is working with the California High Speed Rail Authority on possible plans to speed up Caltrain electrification and improvements that would allow both faster commuter service and high speed service to run on the same line – possibly in just a few years’ time. (The article claims 2016.) If this happens it could be very good news for commuters, who have faced years of delays for the most basic of improvements to rail service.
If you’re a mass transit rider in San Francisco, you probably also use Caltrain to get to the Peninsula. Unfortunately, Caltrain is facing a severe deficit ($30 million per year) that may lead to painful service cuts, and more traffic as a result, unless permanent funding sources are found.
Details from Friends of Caltrain:
You are invited to participate in a Summit to Save Caltrain
Location: SamTrans Auditorium,
1250 San Carlos Avenue, San Carlos (near Caltrain)
Date: Saturday, January 29, 2011 Time: 8:30 am to 2:30 pm.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune will be kicking off the morning at 9:15am, so come early: registration, hot coffee and bagels will be waiting for you at 8:30 am at the Caltrain/Samtrans headquarters, 1250 San Carlos Avenue in San Carlos. Check out our website for the latest press and agenda.
Come with your questions, ideas, and enthusiasm on how to Save Our Caltrain! And spread the word — we need many voices, many hands, so register and attend!
Muni’s not the only regional transit system facing a fiscal emergency due to the economy. Caltrain (run by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board) is also facing deep cuts in funding and is considering various options to address its $10M deficit, including possibly cancelling service on weekends. This isn’t likely to be approved, nor should it be – thousands of SF and regional riders count on Caltrain during “non-commute” hours to get to work, shopping, and entertainment, and the loss of weekend service would mean a huge inconvenience for these riders. (The Giants might have something to say about this too.) Fare increases are also on the table, as is a proposed $1 fee for bike commuters.
Public hearings are scheduled for Wednesday, June 4, at 10 am, at Caltrain headquarters, 1250 San Carlos Ave, San Carlos (near the San Carlos train station).
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and various regional rail agencies are updating the Regional Rail Plan, which covers proposed expansions to BART, Caltrain, Amtrak, and other passenger rail systems in the Bay Area. As part of this project, public workshops are being held – but despite San Francisco being the second largest city in the region (after San Jose) with the most transit boardings, there is no workshop here. Transit riders looking to promote expanded rail service should attend the workshop in Oakland on Wednesday, August 15 (there are two sessions, one at 3 pm and one at 6 pm). Nearest BART station is Lake Merritt.
Rescue Muni supports expanding High Speed Rail and Caltrain to the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco (so it’s not just a billion dollar bus station). And we support Geary Light Rail which should be part of any regional plan. BayRail Alliance also has detailed recommendations for better regional rail service.
Today’s Chronicle quotes a Caltrain commuter on the N: “It’s like I woke up and the nightmare was over.” Meanwhile the K and T lines are through-routed, as planned long ago for the Third Street line, and the new 20-Columbus is running to North Beach.
Is service better? Check Nextbus before you ride, and let us know what you think.