(San Francisco – Casey Miner, KALW News) Caltrain’s Joint Powers Board voted Thursday to keep its current level of service – at least for the next two weeks. Facing a $30 million deficit, the board had debated a series of cuts that would have closed three stations indefinitely and cut 10 weekly trains, including the popular Baby Bullet service. And that was the less drastic proposal: the agency at one point threatened to cut nearly half its trains, whittling service down to peak commute hours only.
Caltrain is unique among the Bay Area's many transit agencies in that it has no dedicated funding source. But board members decided today to spend the next two weeks looking for the money to preserve service as-is. Hundreds of riders have spoken out to oppose the cuts, even hosting a weekend summit to generate ideas.
The most recent proposal was a compromise – most service retained, but in a way that would inconvenience some riders. Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said staff based its recommendations on a combination of factors including ridership at each station, proximity to other stations, and geographic equity (in other words, making service available down the whole Peninsula). Dunn said that if the plan were adopted the agency expected to sacrifice about $2 million annually in lost ridership, but that overall the cuts would save them $5.3 million – a net gain of $3.3 million.
We'll be following this as it develops; interested Caltrain riders can check out the latest proposed schedule for themselves here.
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