How Caltrain and Bay Area transit can survive the pandemic – more equitable and connected

Public transit and Caltrain in particular have been hit hard by the Covid pandemic. During the pandemic, Caltrain ridership has fallen even more steeply than BART because it was run in the US tradition of “commuter rail”, with a schedule and pricing designed for white collar 9-5 jobs.

Caltrain’s finances are among the most fragile because its revenues depend heavily on fares, and its public revenues come from three partner transit agencies with budgets in crisis due to the pandemic. If solutions aren’t found, one of the options – crazy as it sounds – is to shut down a line that the state is investing $2 billion to electrify, and would dump 4 lanes of cars onto highway 101.

But there are opportunities to restore the system so that it’s more connected, and more equitable, than before. 

On Friday, May 22, come learn and share your thoughts on Caltrain’s future and ways that Caltrain can become more equitable and connected — and how you can help:

  • With upcoming electric service, Caltrain is now studying ways to provide access to people across the income spectrum and provide better transit connections. The board will make decisions about this in the next 1-2 months.
  • The Bay Area’s fragmented transit system makes it difficult today to implement coordinated and equitable service – but today’s crisis may open new opportunities to solve the problem.
  • Caltrain and Bay Area transit can survive the pandemic – if our region works together.


Adina Levin, Friends of Caltrain
Ian Griffiths, Seamless Bay Area
Sebastian Petty, Caltrain

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