After 20-year partnership, Caltrain could cut ties with Amtrak 

After a 20-year partnership, Caltrain is poised to cut ties with Amtrak, which has provided the regional rail operator with conductors since 1992.

Instead of renewing its current contract with Amtrak, Caltrain’s staff has recommended a new, five-year $62.5 million pact with TransitAmerica Service, a company based out of Missouri.

TransitAmerica was selected by Caltrain staff after a 15-month outreach process, which incorporated factors such as cost, management and operations plans, according to agency spokeswoman Christine Dunn. The proposed contract comes in under the amount allocated in Caltrain’s long-term budget outlook.

The contract change does not mean that Caltrain will be severing ties with Amtrak workers. Agency spokesman Mark Simon said that existing employees — such conductors and signal train operators — will have a chance to continue working with the agency as part of TransitAmerica service.

On Sept. 1, Caltrain’s board of directors will vote on the contract proposal. If approved, there will be a five-month transition phase, in which Amtrak staffers will work with Caltrain and TransitAmerica officials to segue between the new operations.

Amtrak, a government-owned corporation, has been partnering with Caltrain since the agency was taken over by the Peninsula Joint Powers Board in 1992.

Caltrain has struggled financially in recent times, narrowly avoiding a doomsday scenario of service cuts earlier this year. Agency officials have repeatedly said that a dedicated funding source is crucial for Caltrain’s viability.

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Will Reisman

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