Caltrain service could hit new low with budget cuts 

Caltrain will hold public hearings today on proposals that could reduce service on the debt-ridden transit system to unprecedented low levels.

Faced with a $30 million budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, Caltrain is considering reducing weekday trains from 86 to 48, and eliminating service altogether on the weekends. Trains would only run during the peak commute times of the workweek.

It could also close as many as seven transit stations and increase fares by 25 cents to make up its deficit, which makes up 30 percent of its overall budget. Other possibilities include the elimination of all service south of San Jose and the suspension of special-event trains. If any of the measures are eventually approved, they would take effect on July 2.

Caltrain already reduced its weekday trains from 90 to 86 trains earlier this year, and implemented a 25-cent fare increase that was applied to each of the agency’s six travel zones. Those changes were carried out to make up a $2.5 million shortfall for this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Caltrain is the only transit agency in the Bay Area that doesn’t have a dedicated funding source, an absence that has led to frequent budget problems for the agency. Business organizations, transit officials and legislators have been working on identifying potential revenue sources for the agency.

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Will Reisman

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