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Caltrain weekend "Baby Bullet" service

From: Simon, Mark <simonm_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2010 16:12:57 -0800


Dear Mayors and Councilmembers,

On January 1, Caltrain will be initiating the first weekend "Baby Bullet" express service, a pilot project aimed at increasing revenues and ridership for the rail system.

At its October meeting, the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board adopted service reductions and fare increases to close the final Caltrain FY2010 budget gap of $2.3 million.

At that same meeting, the Board authorized exploration of ways to increase ridership and revenues, including a pilot project to operate express "Baby Bullet" trains on the weekends, a proposal made by many members of the public during Caltrain budget meetings held throughout the community.

A schedule has been prepared by staff and a final draft copy of it is attached for your advance information.

This is additional service - no trains or stops have been dropped from the weekend schedule.

The pilot project begins January 1 and is scheduled to be in place for three months, with an option to extend it.

The schedule features one train in each direction in the morning and one train in each direction in the evening - four trains in all.

Each train will make seven stops between the terminals in San Francisco and San Jose - Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Hillsdale, San Mateo and Millbrae.

The stops were chosen based on ridership, available connections to other transit and proximity to activity centers, such as a major shopping center or a downtown community.

Our ridership statistics show that a significant majority of weekend customers are excursion riders who headed to San Francisco, so there is a longer gap of time between the morning northbound express and the evening southbound express. Nonetheless, because the weekend schedule is unchanged, there are ample opportunities for customers to return home at their leisure on a non-express train.

As a final draft, this is the schedule we will implement on January 1. We are able to achieve this additional service at minimal costs because of the availability of on-board staff at these times in the schedule. To move the trains to other time slots would result in additional costs.

It is a pilot project, so we will use customer surveys and ridership counts to evaluate the weekend express schedule over the three months and at the end of the pilot period.

We are hopeful this will mean a new net revenue source for Caltrain and that the weekend express trains will attract non-riders and convert them into regular customers.

I am available at your convenience to discuss this in further detail, to answer any questions or to listen to any comments or concerns.

Regards,
Mark

Mark Simon
Executive Officer for Public Affairs
San Mateo County Transit District
SamTrans
Caltrain
San Mateo County Transportation Authority Phone: (650) 508-6340
Fax: (650) 508-6281

P.S. I thought you might be interested in knowing that on the day of the parade celebrating the Giants' World Series Championship, Caltrain set a record for the most passengers on a single day, carrying an additional 37,979 passengers.

To put that in perspective, our normal weekday ridership is around 37,000. So, thanks to the Giants, we carried double the number of weekday passengers.

An historic day all around.

Received on Wed Dec 01 2010 - 16:13:46 PST

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