Caltrain fares to increase in October | News | Palo Alto Online |


Caltrain fares to increase in October

Fee increase to help fund system operations

Caltrain fares are going up, with adult fares increasing 25 cents as of Oct. 1, the agency announced.

Also, Caltrain's monthly parking prices will jump from $55 to $82.50 effective Oct. 1. In addition, the discounted eight-ride ticket is being eliminated, the agency said.

The price of the agency's Go Pass will increase from $190 to $237.50 effective Jan. 1, 2018. The price will increase again a year later, rising from $237.50 to $285 effective Jan. 1, 2019.

The changes were approved Thursday by the agency's board of directors to provide revenue to cover the cost of operating the system, Caltrain said.


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22 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 8, 2017 at 8:07 am

What Caltrain should be doing is using innovative pricing to encourage more use at non-commute times. There should be discounts for riders who start their trip after 10 am and at weekends. There should also be discounts for families with children. I think having free parking after 3.00 pm would encourage riders for evening activities.

Caltrain and other transport authorities should be using pricing innovations to encourage more off peak travel.

14 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 8, 2017 at 10:37 am

The reason that we don't use CalTrain as often is BECAUSE the prices are already so high. Public transportation should be cheaper than traditional transportation. Lower prices would increase demand and, consequently, the sentiment that the public should support it.

Unfortunately, they realize that they have a "captive audience" in the pricing of their public monopoly. Those without a car and those relying upon job transportation assistance have little choice than to pay the increase.

If CalTrain prices were $8 to $10 for a day pass from Palo Alto to San Francisco, I feel that ridership would increase to the point of justifying 2x longer trains (at little increase in energy costs). Instead, we have tickets rapidly approaching $20 per day.

5 people like this
Posted by Native to the Bay
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 8, 2017 at 1:31 pm

What about all the money approved for Measure B - Many more millions than for building housing in our county. It costs more to take Cal-train than to drive alone in a gas guzzeling combustion automobile. Please help me understand why it costs more to transport people than to house us. At least according to the amounts of dollars approved for the two county bonds measure Aand B that were passed. Yet housing doesn't get built and mass transit increases in price.

17 people like this
Posted by Boo
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Tickets are already to costly on a daily basis.

May as well take the bus from South SJ to Mountain View.
It's a lot cheaper on a daily, even monthly basis, and only about 45 minutes slower.

13 people like this
Posted by Choo choo
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 8, 2017 at 3:40 pm

I live right next to the Menlo Park train station (less than a minute walk) but haven't ridden the train in years because it's so expensive. I would love to take the train from the MPK train station to the Redwood City train station and catch a movie, but although it's just one stop away, a round trip ticket costs $11.50. It's much cheaper to drive.

I wonder if Caltrain is taking advantage of the tech companies with deep pockets that are paying for train passes for their employees. It's just like the greedy landlords around here - - once they get wind of low unemployment and companies like Google paying high wages, they want a piece of the $$$.

1 person likes this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Aug 8, 2017 at 5:42 pm

What the commenters here don't seem to realize is that Caltrain has no dedicated funding source. Unlike most public transportation systems that get funding from taxes, the vast majority of Caltrain's revenue comes from the farebox. So far the 3 counties have been pretty stingy with their funding. There is talk of a 3 county sales tax to help fund Caltrain. I'm sure the commenters here will enthusiastically support that.

Note that Caltrain is proposing large increases in the cheap monthly passes they sell to employers.

The idea of lower fares midday and weekends has got to be a money loser. Those trains are already pretty well filled. If you lower fares to get a few more people on, the decrease in revenues from the current passengers would way more than offset the incremental revenue.

I hope some commenters who are knowledgeable about rail transit and Caltrain show up here, because the level of sophistication of most people is the knee jerk reaction that it is too expensive.

9 people like this
Posted by Leslie
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 8, 2017 at 6:03 pm

As a college student I stopped taking the train between S.F. and P.A. and started taking SamTrans buses which were significantly cheaper. SamTrans had taken over the old Greyhound routes. They took me from El Camino and California Avenue to 7th and Mission in the city.

That was in 1976. The trains were still run by Southern Pacific and were losing money for S.P. at the time.

In business you charge what the traffic will bear. If fares are too high people will seek alternatives like SamTrans and Caltrain will lose that revenue.

9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 8, 2017 at 6:45 pm

As an example of how reduced pricing might work, here is an example. A group of 8 friends went to a weekend Giants game recently. Instead of each paying $14 for Caltrain, they went in an 8 seater SUV and paid $20 for parking one vehicle. Even taking gas into account, this worked out much cheaper than Caltrain.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 8, 2017 at 10:18 pm

The price of an unlimited Go-Pass will stay less than $1 per day. If everybody used them, we'd bankrupt the system very quickly. Anybody know how many are sold? What percentage of the sales are actually used? What percentage of passengers on a train are traveling on a Go-Pass? I can't even venture any guesses.

(The catch of course is that eligible organizations must purchase a pass for every member of the organization, whether or not it will be issued.)

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