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Caltrain OK's 25-cent fare hike for 2009

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  • 10/3 Redwood City Daily
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2008
      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
      riders."

      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
      summer.

      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@...
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