Caltrain seeks public input on adding service 

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Caltrain passengers can weigh in this week on a proposal to add six more daily runs to the service schedule.

Last year at this time, when the agency faced a $30 million operating budget shortfall, Caltrain considered implementing draconian service cuts. But one-time funding sources and support from partner agencies helped the agency make a turnaround.

The proposal includes the restoration of four former routes that would serve local stops during the late morning and early afternoon; and adding two new lines during the evening commute, bringing Caltrain’s daily train runs from 86 to 92.

Adding stops at Sunnyvale and Palo Alto stations for several regular lines also is under consideration.

Wednesday, Caltrain will discuss more details of the plans during a community hearing.

Caltrain’s board of directors is scheduled to vote on the service proposal at its June 7 meeting as part of its budget approval process for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. If authorized, the new trains could be on the tracks by Sept. 1.

Although the service increase is projected to have no more than a minimal cost, Caltrain is forecasting a balanced budget for the new fiscal year. However, the long-term funding outlook remains grim.

The one-time cash influxes that Caltrain is using to balance its budget will run out by the end of the next fiscal year. At that time, officials expect to again face a daunting deficit, one that could lead to service reductions and fare increases.

To avoid that scenario, lawmakers and transit advocates are working on revenue measures that could go before voters, although no initiative is likely to happen before 2013.

Community meeting

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Caltrain headquarters, 1250 San Carlos Ave., San Carlos

What: Service increase proposal, including restoring the 236, 237, 256 and 257 lines to the weekday schedule and adding two new lines to the evening commute

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Will Reisman

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