Category Friends of Caltrain
Go to the Friends of Caltrain for the most current actions to save Caltrain.
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Reducing Caltrain service to a “bare bones” weekday commuter schedule will generate serious difficulties for hundreds of Bay Area workers, their families and their companies.
A glance around the cars on any Caltrain makes this clear.
During commute hours, the trains are packed — sometimes standing-room only — with young high-tech workers from around the world. Many of these young people are used to relying on public transit at home and never expected to have to purchase a car in the fabled Silicon Valley.
The reduced hours will need to include the later arrival and departure times favored by the tech companies. It’s been said that Silicon Valley working hours run 10a to 7p on an easy day. On more typical ten or 11-hour days, those hours stretch to 8 or 9p.
If Caltrain can’t accommodate these hours, larger companies will likely hire the luxury bus services that have sprung up to serve high-tech companies. Once their employees are used to door-to-door service, they many never return to commuting by train.
But small business still generates most jobs, and the individuals who suddenly find themsleves with a job in one transit district and a home in another will face onerous bus rides or the prospect of moving or purchasing a car they might not afford on a small company’s wages.
For contractors without a car, it will mean turning down work outside their city or county transit district. They will only be able to work where the bus goes.
There are more workers wo don’t drive than one might suppose.
A friend who works in Redwood Shores and lives in San Jose has endured several operations on his eyes and avoids driving even in daylight if he can. Instead, he rides Caltrain daily.
Another train friend is the dad part of a young couple with a baby and a single, second-hand economy car. He takes the train so his wife can have the car and pick up the baby on time from day care. Without the train, their commute will be made unnecessarily complicated.
I myself worked in Redwood Shores for two years because Caltrain made it possible for me to get there, since I don’t own a vehicle.
Because I’ve been able to rely on Caltrain up until now, the areas where I can accept work assignments range from Hillsdale (Foster City) to San Jose. Without a reliable Caltrain schedule that fits my employer’s hours, I’ll need to reduce the range of potential employers to Palo Alto to San Jose, further circumscribed by bus routes.
Caltrain has become embedded in the commute patterns of Silicon Valley. Please don’t disrupt this vital thoroughfare through the valley by reducing hours. Raise the fares, but keep all the trains.
Dedicated funding for Caltrain from either a gas tax or sales tax is desperately needed. Consistent funding would mean riders would not have to suffer from service cuts or fare hikes when one of the three funding sources is facing financial issues. I live in San Jose and enjoy taking the train to San Francisco to see Giants games with my family. If services are cut I will be forced to drive, pay for parking, and succumb to the high gas prices. Instead I could be sparing the air from greenhouse gases, saving money, and enjoying a leisurely train ride. Since the 1950’s federal funding has been diverted from public transportation to highway systems, even though a wider range of people can use and benefit from the former. The Bay Area needs to keep a public transit system that is convenient, efficient, and low cost for commuters.
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