Caltrain to cut one third of budget, effect on Gilroy unknown

Little new in analysis of high-speed rail routes

Massive budget cuts for the Caltrain rail system will likely
lead to the elimination of midday, night and weekend service.
However, the impacts on service in Gilroy and Morgan Hill are still
unknown, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said on Friday.
Massive budget cuts for the Caltrain rail system will likely lead to the elimination of midday, night and weekend service. However, the impacts on service in Gilroy and Morgan Hill are still unknown, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said on Friday.

“We’re not singling out any one particular area or service,” Dunn said.

Caltrain needs to trim its $97 million budget this year by about $30 million, Dunn said.

Proposed reductions would impact 5,700 midday riders, 2,000 night riders, and 18,000 riders who use the trains on weekends, Dunn said.

A number of factors have contributed to the deficit, including a loss of state transportation funds and potential reductions or losses of funding from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Dunn said.

“Ever since we took over the train in 1992, Caltrain has never really had a dedicated funding source,” she said.

In addition, 40 percent of Caltrain’s budget comes from fares, and ridership is declining, Dunn said.

“That’s a direct result of the economy,” Dunn said. “People are not going to work.”

Daily ridership in Gilroy last year was 156 people, compared to 569 people in 2001, Dunn said. In Morgan Hill, 123 people rode the train last year compared with 437 in 2001.

Some of the reduction in Gilroy ridership also resulted from highway improvements that have occurred since then, Dunn said.

Any proposed reductions in Caltrain service are subject to a public hearing process, Dunn said.

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