Caltrain ‘a rare public transit success story?’

Dear Editor,

Calling Caltrain “a rare public transit success story” is like calling Amtrak a passenger railroad success story.

How do you define success?

If the success is gauged by the size of the tax subsidies or operating losses incurred, then these boondoggles, like BART, are a “success.” But the trouble with such Marxist foundations for transport is that it is incapable of long-term performance.

For example, since Caltrain’s farebox recovery rate is only about 11 percent, each additional passenger adds to the deficit. Like Amtrak, more passengers mean greater losses, higher taxpayer


Whether the carrier is a private sector one, e.g., airlines, or a public-sector one, e.g., bullet train, fares must cover expenses to make it sustainable. If Caltrain was required to obey the financial reporting requirements of Corporations Code Section 114 like the rest of business owners are, then the truth about its farebox recovery rate would be disclosed. Same goes for the transit agencies’ financial reports.

Why do we tolerate elected officials who conceal the truth about these black holes?

Joe Thompson, Gilroy

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