Caltrain capital budget considers level boarding for the first time

Caltrain is for the first time proposing to plan for level boarding – changing platforms to allow people with wheelchairs, strollers, bikes to roll on and roll off – in its two-year capital budget.  

Level boarding would be a major improvement – not only for important accessibility but for speed and reliability.  With the current stairs and lifts, it can take up to two minutes for a person needing assistance to board and unboard. Caltrain defines “on-time performance” within 5 minutes – in part because it can’t commit to a more precise schedule with the amount of time for boarding.   

The project proposed in the budget:

“Level Boarding Roadmap – $520,000 (FY2024) & $520,000 (FY2025) This project provides a plan for vehicle and platform modifications to accommodate systemwide level boarding. This includes technical, regulatory, freight, and operational interface evaluation. It will also conduct research on best practices, document constraints and challenges, and develop a long-term plan and path to completion.”

Unfortunately, the capital budget is not close to balanced, with over $80 million in proposed projects. Obviously a lot of projects will need to be deferred – hopefully the level boarding plan will be funded soon.

The budget is being reviewed today, Monday 5/22 by the finance committee. A balanced proposal will be brought to the board in June. 

Thanks to Adrian Brandt for catching this important project in the 57-item capital project list.