Published Friday, October 3, 2008, by the Redwood City Daily News
Caltrain fares to rise in 2009
By Shaun Bishop
Daily News Staff Writer
Passengers will pay an extra quarter to ride Caltrain next year
so the agency can generate some extra money to buy costly diesel.
The rail agency's board Thursday rejected a steeper increase in an
earlier proposal that called for a 25-cent hike to both the $2.25
base fare and the $1.75 per-zone fare. Instead, only the base fare
will go up.
"They decided it would be too much of a hardship on our riders,"
Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said about the dual 25-cent
increases. "It's a modest increase I think is palatable to most
Starting Jan. 1, 2009, the base fare will be $2.50, which officials
said will raise an additional $943,500 in revenue the remaining six
months of this fiscal year and $1.8 million next fiscal year.
Officials noted diesel fuel prices, while still volatile, have
dropped to $3.11 per gallon after rising as high as $4.25 over the
The last time Caltrain raised fares, by 25 cents per zone in April
2007, diesel averaged $2.30 per gallon.
Still, diesel remains higher than the $3 per gallon the board had
budgeted for this fiscal year. The trains will use about 4.45 million
gallons of fuel this year, according to the agency.
Some riders who wrote to Caltrain about the fare hike said they
understand the need to cover fuel costs, while others said the agency
should not drive away its customers amid record-high ridership.
Nearly 12 million people rode Caltrain between June 2007 and June
2008, a 50 percent increase from four years earlier.
Caltrain Executive Director Michael Scanlon also blamed the
agency's budget problems on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has
cut about $3 billion in transit funding during his time in office
despite marketing himself as the "green governor," he said.
"It's unconscionable to me personally and I'm frankly bitterly
disappointed at the actions this man's taken," Scanlon said.
Along with the fare increase, the board voted to scrap its 10-ride
ticket package in favor of an eight-ride ticket package that works
better with validation machines.
E-mail Shaun Bishop at sbishop@...