The mobility of Caltrain’s 40,000 daily riders on the Peninsula and the South Bay could drastically suffer under deep service cuts being considered to close a $30 million budget gap, but a movement to get the commuter rail service agency out of the red and on a path toward long-term sustainability is gaining momentum.
“Everyone says it’s ironic, because it really is one of the best performing transit agencies in the whole Bay Area, but it’s the one potentially in the most trouble because we lack any dedicated funding,” said Yoriko Kishimoto, a Palo Alto councilmember and Friends of Caltrain organizer.
Last Friday, a summit brought together a number of transportation officials, advocates, neighborhood groups, riders and public officials hoping to rescue Caltrain. This Saturday, Friends of Caltrain, a “grassroots coalition of cities, neighborhood groups, employers, environmental groups, transit advocates and, most importantly, residents and transit riders” in the Bay Area, are helping to organize the “Save Our Caltrain!” Summit to address the agency’s lack of dedicated regional funding.
“Caltrain is threatened with bankruptcy, or just as bad, it could die a slow death by entering a downward spiral of reduced service and reduced ridership,” said Kishimoto. “Caltrain ridership is the equivalent of at least three full lanes of traffic on US 101…[It] is essential to the Peninsula’s quality of life, our commute alternatives, and economic vitality and the three counties must come together to work on solutions.”