Caltrain fares to go up by a quarter on Friday 

Caltrain fares will increase by 25 cents later this week, marking the sixth time in the last six years that the agency has hiked transit rates.

Starting July 1, base fares for Caltrain passengers will go up by a quarter, increasing the cost of a round-trip ticket from Zone 1 in San Francisco to Zone 2 in San Mateo from $9 to $9.50.

The agency moved forward with the fare increase as a way to balance a $30 million budget shortfall for the 2012 fiscal year, which starts on July 1. Despite the shortfall, the agency was able to balance its budget without cutting service — an important victory for Caltrain riders.

Caltrain officials have acknowledged that its business model is not sustainable, and the only recourse for the agency to prevent repeated fare increases is a dedicated funding source for its operations.

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