Belmont vies for Caltrain’s time 

Bypassed by new Baby Bullet trains, Belmont has seen daily Caltrain stops drop from 68 to 52 since 2000, frustrating many city leaders and creating transit headaches for neighboring businesses such as tech giant Oracle.

"In the morning and in the evening, our local roads are a gridlock, and with that, why does Oracle have two shuttles, one to San Carlos, one to the Baby Bullet station in Hillsdale, when the Belmont station is only one mile away?" Belmont Councilman Bill Dickenson said.

The company buses that once shuttled employees between Oracle — in nearby Redwood Shores — and the Belmont train station now drive up to 10 miles farther to bring riders to the San Carlos, Hillsdale or Millbrae stations.

"The majority of our employee commuters benefit from Caltrain’s Baby Bullet and limited-stop rail service," Oracle spokeswoman Kimberly Pineda said, adding that there are approximately 110 employees who use the train daily. "The Baby Bullet’s only scheduled stop near Oracle is at Hillsdale."

Dickenson was one of the Peninsula leaders hoping to work with Caltrain to hire an outside consultant to look at track schedules and infrastructure. Caltrain board members rejected that idea Thursday. According to the board, a consultant would be too much for the already funding-strapped organization to bear.

Despite the setback, Belmont City Council members want to work with Caltrain to support the expansion of service and safety enhancements along the Caltrain lines.

"Wouldn’t it be nice if we could show up at the train station and not have to worry about the schedule, if we had trains every 10 to 15 minutes?" he said.

Caltrain spokeswoman Janet McGovern said the organization was interested in meeting with the assembled leaders to find common ground.

"It is not an ‘us versus them’ situation, we’re all trying to find the funding, trying to find solutions for us to have a bigger, better train system," Dickenson said.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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