Caltrain forecasts 25% ridership boost from Downtown Extension

Caltrain’s modeling of demand for rail service by 2040 predicts that the completion of the Downtown Extension of the tracks from 4th and King to the Salesforce Transbay terminal would increase system ridership by 25%, adding more than 25,000 daily riders when complete.

There were more jobs within walking distance of the Salesforce Transbya terminal than the rest of the line combined, according to analysis of data from the last census, suggesting the potential for a major ridership boost; not to mention the regional transit connections to BART and buses. Caltrain’s modeling supports these logical arguments for lots of ridership.

The major ridership benefit of completing the DTX project hasn’t (yet) gotten much attention, among the wealth of detail revealed by the business plan analysis and in the flow of discussion about ridership, passing tracks, grade separations and schedule options.

For transit supporters and policymakers, this forecast about the potential for DTX ridership sparked by seems worth more attention than it’s been getting.

DTX is common thought of as a “San Francisco project” that provides value mostly to SF. But another 25,000+ transit riders would be beneficial for all the other cities where those riders come from and go to, and would help notably relieve congestion for the corridor as a whole.

As the Caltrain board, local policymakers, and community members think about the big picture of investments in the Caltrain business plan, the regional benefits of DTX are worth considering.