Caltrain public hearing TONIGHT

Caltrain Joint Powers Board (JPB) will hold a public hearing on proposed service increases.

Proposed service changes include

  • Restoring trains 236, 237, 256 and 257 to the Caltrain weekday schedule.
  • Adding two new trains to the evening commute.
  • Adding more stops to Sunnyvale and Palo Alto. NB 211, 221, 231 would stop at Sunnvale in the mornings; SB 312, 322, & 332 would add a Palo Alto stop on their SB morning runs. In the evening, SB 365, 373, & 383 stop in Sunnyvale under the proposed schedule, with NB 312, 322 & 332 adding Palo Alto.

Mountain View Caltrain evening commute

Caltrain ridership jumped from 37,000 commuters to 43,000 between February 2011 and February 2012. That’s 5,000 more people riding. On-time performance dipped into the mid-90% range due, in part, to “passenger dwell time” (i.e. the time it takes to board passengers), resulting in some trains showing up a whopping 4 minutes late in San Francisco.

Let’s watch the transit-haters try to add 5,000 more cars to an already over-burdened Highway 101 and see what happens to traffic. On the train, increasing the passenger load 10% makes things a little uncomfortable but you still get to work on time. Adding only 2% more vehicles or taking lane space away by making vehicles 8% larger (read “SUVs”) can bring highway traffic to a dead stop. Mass transit is the only way to accommodate the 28% growth in Bay Area population and jobs anticipated over the next 20 years.

Caltrain is required to operate with a balanced budget. They cut train service last year to address budget shortfalls, but record ridership this year has resulted in overcrowded trains in spite of higher ticket prices. The annual ridership survey in February counted 43,000 daily train riders, up from 37,000 riders a year ago. Farebox revenue this year is up 24% over last year. A one-time grant and this increased revenue will allow Caltrain to add service beginning this fall.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, May 30, at 6 p.m. at the Caltrain administrative offices, 1250 San Carlos Ave., 2nd floor auditorium, in San Carlos. The JPB will also accept comments on the proposed schedule change Comments by June 8 via email (, phone (1.800.660.4287) or mail (P.O. Box 3006, San Carlos, CA 94070-1306.

Monterey Salinas Transit hearings too

Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) recently completed a service analysis of Salinas, California and will hold a series public hearings on proposed service changes which MST says will improve on-time performance, convenience, and overall service quality. MST has not yet published information on the changes, but these routes will be affected:

    20 Salinas – Monterey via Marina
    21 Salinas – Monterey via Hwy 68
    23 Salinas – King City (only the portion of route in city of Salinas)
    25 Marina – Salinas via CSUMB
    41 East Alisal – Northridge
    42 East Alisal – Westridge
    43 South Salinas – Salinas via SVMH
    44 Salinas – Westridge
    45 Northridge – Salinas via East Market
    46 Natividad – Salinas
    48 Natividad – Hartnell via Airport Business Center
    49 Salinas – Santa Rita via Northridge

Three public hearings will be held to discuss these changes:

Salinas – Wednesday June 6, 6:00 PM
Northridge Mall Community Room, 796 Northridge Mall, Salinas, CA 93906
At the west exterior of the mall between Forever 21& JC Penney’s

Salinas – Thursday, June 7, 6:00 PM
Hebron Heights Community Center, 683 Fremont Street, Salinas, CA 93905

Monterey – Monday, June 11, 10:00 AM
Monterey-Salinas Transit, One Ryan Ranch Rd., Monterey, CA 93940

MST has been adversely affected by higher fuel prices and fewer operating fund grants. They were forced to hike fares last weekend and borrowed $1 million this month to keep the buses running.

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