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Caltrain sets another record
October 03, 2012, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff

Daily Journal file photo Caltrain's numbers for total ridership in August were up 7.8 percent compared to last year from 1.25 million to 1.35 million. The service had about 3,000 more riders a day in August as the average weekday ridership jumped from 45,204 last year to 48,634 this year.


Caltrain’s trend of increased ridership has now reached 25 consecutive months as the commuter rail line set another ridership record for the month of August.

The numbers are up, in part, due to the more than 86,000 fans who rode Caltrain to the San Francisco Giants’ 12 home games at AT&T Park in August, an 11 percent increase over 2011 numbers.

In June, Caltrain broke an all-time ridership record when an average of more than 50,000 riders a day hopped on the local commuter train, the most in its 150-year history.

It also had the best July ever and the numbers for total ridership in August were up 7.8 percent compared to last year from 1.25 million to 1.35 million. The service had about 3,000 more riders a day in August as the average weekday ridership jumped from 45,204 last year to 48,634 this year.

More riders increased farebox revenue in August by 12.1 percent, according to a staff report the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board will hear at its Thursday meeting.

Ridership has climbed for more than two years now as Caltrain sets to embark on a multi-year modernization project that will electrify its tracks, allowing it to run more trains when the project is completed in 2019. The state just released $40 million last week in Proposition 1A bond money to kick-start the project, estimated to cost about $1.5 billion when complete.

"This is unprecedented growth in our system’s history and highlights both the demand for our services and the requirement that we continue to grow and improve our system to continue to be a vital part of the Peninsula’s transportation network,” Chuck Harvey, Caltrain’s deputy chief executive officer, wrote the Daily Journal in an email.

Ridership has climbed 75 percent at Caltrain since 2004 when it introduced its baby bullet service.

Total farebox revenue for August was nearly $6 million, up from the $5.3 million in August 2011.

For the year, total farebox revenue is up 14.4 percent from $10.3 million last year to $11.8 million this year. The fiscal year started July 1.

Total ridership for the year is up 9.8 percent and the average weekday ridership is up 8.9 percent. More than 2.6 million riders have taken the train this year compared to the 2.4 million it carried last year at this time.

Shuttle ridership was also up in August by 23.5 percent and, for the year, the shuttle numbers are up 22.1 percent compared to the numbers last year, according to the staff report.

More than 8,300 riders rode shuttles in August compared to the 6,753 who rode shuttles last year.

On-time performance for August also was better than the numbers in 2011 at 93.3 percent compared to 92.1 percent last year. For the year, on-time performance is at 93.4 percent compared to 91.9 percent last year.

Caltrain just added six trains to its weekday schedule to accommodate the increase in ridership.

"We have made it clear that one of our top priorities is the electrification of this corridor to provide this region with faster, cleaner, quieter Caltrain service but we will also be looking for innovative ways to meet the growing ridership demands between now and 2019, when modernization is completed,” Harvey wrote in the email.

In other JPB news, the board is expected to approve a resolution of appreciation at its next meeting for Richard Napier, the executive director at the City/County Association of Governments. C/CAG deals with regional transportation issues and works closely with the San Mateo County Transportation Authority on what local transportation projects to fund.


The Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board meets 10 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 4, Bacciocco Auditorium, second floor, 1250 San Carlos Ave., San Carlos.


Bill Silverfarb can be reached by email: silverfarb@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.


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