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Caltrain baby bullet back in August – and more trains – at Caltrain board Thursday

On Thursday July 1, the Caltrain board will receive a presentation about its proposed service restoration for August, timed to increase service when BART does.

The proposed new schedule addresses popular demand to bring back baby bullet trains. It continues the Covid-era improved connect to BART at Millbrae.   It also keeps and improves on the Covid schedule that added more frequency evening and weekends (30 minutes, not hourly), and brought weekend service back from 90 minute frequency that had been put in place for electrification construction. 

The staff materials don’t say anything about whether there will be any weekend baby bullet service.  And they don’t say how many trains Caltrain is going to run. Before the pandemic, Caltrain was running a 92-train schedule. During the initial shelter-in-place order Caltrain slashed service to 42 trains per day, and restored it to 70 trains per day with the availability of federal relief funding.  The 70-train schedule in 2020 improved BART connection and off-peak service based on new board policies for equity and connectivity. 

The service restoration plan is extremely important because Caltrain’s service recovery is lagging BART and other rail around the country. Caltrain’s data from May showed ridership still less than 10% of prepandemic levels.

Caltrain is reporting data monthly. Meanwhile, BART is reporting its ridership recovery trends daily on social media. The most recent post said BART weekday ridership is at 20% of pre-pandemic. Weekend ridership is up to 35%. Caltrain has technology limitations that prevent realtime reporting like BART, but would it be possible to be somewhat more timely, given the importance of understanding ridership patterns in a recovery year where travel patterns are hard to predict.

Do you have thoughts to share about Caltrain’s schedule?  Send an email to board@caltrain.com and if you can, comment at the meeting using this zoom link.  

The item will come up at 10:30 or later, after a long closed session, so if you would like an alert when to comment, send us email at friends@friendsofcaltrain.com

The agenda item is 6J.  Unfortunately, because the closed session will be long, this item has been moved to the “Consent Calendar”, which means that the board is not expecting to talk about it. The board is expecting to discuss and give guidance in August, and by that time it will be very difficult to make any changes.  So if you want the board to discuss in July, ask them to “pull it from the consent calendar and discuss it.”

On Thursday, the Caltrain board will receive a presentation about its proposed service restoration in August, timed to BART’s service restoration.

The proposed new schedule addresses popular demand to bring back baby bullet trains. It continues the Covid-era improved connect to BART at Millbrae.   It also keeps and improves on the Covid schedule that added more frequency evening and weekends (30 minutes, not hourly), and brought weekend service back from 90 minute frequency that had been put in place for electrification construction. 

The staff materials don’t say anything about whether there will be any weekend baby bullet service.  And they don’t say how many trains Caltrain is going to run. Before the pandemic, Caltrain was running a 92-train schedule. During the initial shelter-in-place order Caltrain slashed service to 42 trains per day, and restored it to 70 trains per day with the availability of federal relief funding.  The 70-train schedule in 2020 improved BART connection and off-peak service based on new board policies for equity and connectivity. 

Do you have thoughts to share about Caltrain’s schedule?  Send an email to board@caltrain.com, and if you can, comment at the meeting using this zoom link.  

There will be a long closed session until 10:30 or later, so if you would like an alert when to comment, send us email at friends@friendsofcaltrain.com

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