Update: We talked to Ben Tripousis, head of California High Speed Rail’s Northern California program, who added more context about the workshop held in January where a panel of experts talked about how High Speed Rail would “compete” with Caltrain on the corridor from San Francisco through San Jose.
Tripousis explained that the panelists are academic experts on ridership modelling who are giving technical advice on how to estimate the number of riders who will take the High Speed Trains. The reason to compare with Caltrain service is to make predictions about the number of riders who will be attracted by services of different speeds and types.
Their goal, said Tripousis, was “not to create strategies to compete for market share” on the SF-SJ corridor. “Our goal was never to compete with Caltrain service,” said Tripousis. “That choice of words [in the memo] was unfortunate. It was not talking about competition between the services.”
Tripousis reports that the High Speed Rail Authority plans to start outreach on the Peninsula corridor for the next phase of planning with the first meetings expected in September. One of the objectives of that planning process will to discuss schedule options “in order to create a complementary blended service.”
Hopefully as part of the planning process, Caltrain corridor commuters, city and employer stakeholders will speak up as part of that process, seeking a schedule pattern that provides the most commuter convenience, meets cities’ economic development goals, and takes the most cars off the road.