Town Square

Post a New Topic

Report: Caltrain budget deficit could surpass half a billion dollars over next decade

Original post made on Apr 13, 2023

Caltrain's cumulative operating deficit may exceed half a billion dollars over the next decade without significant changes in ridership, funding and other factors, according to a new financial outlook report.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 13, 2023, 9:45 AM

Comments (5)

Posted by Dan Waylonis
a resident of Jackson Park
on Apr 13, 2023 at 2:48 pm

Dan Waylonis is a registered user.

This article is lacking any information about how expenditures have changed over time. It does mention that personnel and benefits are the largest expenditures. Perhaps some layoffs would help reduce costs. And a cost-benefit analysis of electrification would also be interesting. Perhaps it shouldn't be pursued.

Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 13, 2023 at 5:55 pm

Greg David is a registered user.

Sorry Dan, the electrification ship has sailed. It’s way too far into the project to turn back. The catenary is mostly up and the actual trains have already started arriving from Utah. To back out now would be total management malfeasance.

What I see as some of their easy fix short term solutions is to embrace the people that are actually using the system. The commuters are mostly gone, which leaves them with the leisure users. Instead of adding trains and running specials, they pack hundreds of people, standing rom only into their regularly scheduled trains to Giants and Sharks games. There should be an express train to Redwood City after every Giants game, but currently they only offer the tedious local that stops at every stop. Despite being packed the trains they do run after games, don’t don’t consistently enforce fare controls. And why are they screwing with weekend service on game days?? They should do bus bridges and all that other nonsense on “bare minimum mondays” when the trains are empty.

Then there’s the 49ers trains. Taking the train and transferring to VTA is extremely tedious. VTA needs to run non stop express trains from MV to Levi’s at least every ten minutes and have busses to take the handful of regular passengers to every stop skipped. This, or maybe Caltrain should look into running specials to Santa Clara and then reverse up the line to the preexisting ACE/Amtrak Great America Station right next to Levi’s.

Then of course as you mentioned, CUT THE FAT. All of these transit agencies have too much administrative structure. Having a multi six figure CEO is fine, but they should be a regional director overlooking multiple systems. There is simply too much management and administration.

Posted by SalsaMusic
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 13, 2023 at 7:07 pm

SalsaMusic is a registered user.

Apparently you the biggest cost is electricity. Which they expect to be double what they spend on diesel today.

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2023 at 2:36 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

The plans call for twice as many trains per day as have been the norm. Now that so many existing trains are running empty, the easy way to save money is to run fewer trains. The electric still makes the trains faster and quieter, but nothing says that there have to be so many more. Another issue is that they have the capability planned to make each train longer and so to have a greater passenger capacity. They can also stop quicker at stations and so don't have to have the case where many trains skip most of the stations "express" or the like.

I would really say that the trains as they are run pretty frequently. There doesn't have to be as big of a deficit if the schedule plans are simply adjusted. The trains run more freqnently at peak times simply to try to get the capacity. Having a train 10 minutes earlier isn't a big draw to passengers.

It would bre REALLY bad if passemger demand stays down like this for 10 years and no change is made in the shcedule. Sort of absurd it owuld be.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 25, 2023 at 9:38 am

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

A bit of the reporting (or was it the report?) makes no sense to me. What about the physics? More trains = more electricity - which is an Operational Cost which exactly scales with operations (or do they get hit with the new PGE baseline / independent of actual electrical power usage?). If you decrease trains - decrease staff (or 20% furlough) - decrease equipment use - decrease maintenance (unused electric trains need very little maintenance). Also - decrease the electric train 'set' acceptance rate (slow down that contract/not cancel).

Board needs to 'get real' / cut some service / increase some fares/.

(an irregular CalTrain rider)

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Mountain View Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Worried about the cost of climate change? Here is some hope.
By Sherry Listgarten | 23 comments | 3,378 views

Two Hours - 75,000 Meals – Wanna Help?
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,809 views