Caltrain announced possible service and fare changes to be implemented as early as October.
At a board of directors meeting last Thursday, chief operating officer Chuck Harvey presented possibilities necessitated by the budget challenge the transit agency is facing, spokeswoman Christine Dunn said Friday.
The changes discussed were eliminating all weekend service, reducing midday service, increasing both zone and base fare by 25 cents each, and levying a surcharge on bicyclists.
"We have to look for ways to close the budget shortfall," Dunn said, noting that the agency has been impacted by the budget challenges facing partner agencies, which include the city and county of San Francisco, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and San Mateo County Transit District.
"Each are grappling with budget challenges because they're not going to receive state transit assistance funds," Dunn said.
Dunn said the measures would help Caltrain balance its budget. The agency is facing a $10.1 million budget deficit for the 2010 fiscal year.
Dunn said Caltrain estimates it would save about $2 million by eliminating all weekend service. Reducing midday service from a half-hourly basis to an hourly basis would save the agency about $2.5 million.
A 25-cent base fare hike would bring in about $1.5 million and a 25-cent per-zone increase would generate about $2.2 million, Dunn said. The increase of both fares would generate about $3.7 million.
Ridership is projected to be impacted, Dunn said. Caltrain estimated losing 1 million annual rides with the elimination of weekend service, and between 100,000 to 200,000 annual rides by cutting midday service.
The increase of the base fare would lead to the loss of an estimated 400,000 annual rides, and raising the zone fare would lose 600,000 annual rides. The implementation of both fare increases would cause Caltrain to lose about 1 million riders on an annual basis.
Dunn said three community meetings will be held this month to receive feedback on the measures under consideration.
The board also set two public hearings, both of which will be held at the next Caltrain board meeting on June 4, during which -- in addition to discussing the possible changes -- the board will declare a state of fiscal emergency as it anticipates running out of money within the year. The board is scheduled to take action on the measures on July 2.
In January, Caltrain hiked the base fare by 25 cents in response to the high cost of diesel fuel.