Caltrain may have a $30 million budget deficit, but it also has some friends. These friends, aptly named “The Friends of Caltrain,” are doing what they can to prevent the railroad’s demise. On Saturday they held a “Summit” to discuss ways to keep the service running, despite the proposed cuts.
Friends of Caltrain describes itself as a “grassroots coalition of cities, neighborhood groups, employers, environmental groups, transit advocates and, most importantly, residents and transit riders” who have come together “to advocate for Caltrain’s long-term viability as our local and regional transit.”
Faced with the current funding crisis, the group is adopting a three-pronged approach to public transportation, which includes containing costs, identifying additional sources of regional revenues and increasing ridership by improving, rather than slashing, service. The main problem, says the group’s co-founder Yoriko Kishimoto, is that of all the 28 transit agencies operating in the Bay Area, Caltrain is the only one to lack a dedicated source of funding.
On Thursday, Caltrain is expected to declare a fiscal emergency, which will result in further reductions of service. It’s nothing new. This is the third year in a row that Caltrain has declared such a fiscal emergency. Friends of Caltrain are still searching for an alternative to keep the service fully operational.