Economic Slump Impacts Transit:
Higher Fares and Service Cuts
In This Issue:
No. 2002-2
May-June 2002
On the Topic......page 2
Capitol Corridor Plans to Introduce
Business Class......page 3
South Bay Tax Drop Puts Caltrain
Projects in Peril......page 4
Q&A on High Speed Rail......page 4
Membership Form......page 5
Calendar of Events......page 6
BayRail Alliance
http://www.bayrailalliance.org
Formerly Peninsula Rail 2000
After two years, the details of the Bay
Crossing Study conducted by the
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
(MTC) were released on April 3, 2002. The
study provided cost estimates of various
transit and highway alternatives across San
Francisco Bay. The study included two
conventional rail projects (potential
extensions of Caltrain, Amtrak, and/or ACE).
It identified one of these, Dumbarton rail, as
the least costly option. However, it also
found another proposed conventional rail
crossing, a new underwater tube between
San Francisco and Oakland, to be the most
expensive option.
With a pricetag of $286 million,
conventional rail service over the
reconstructed Dumbarton rail bridge would
extend Caltrain from the Peninsula to Newark,
Fremont, Union City--and potentially to
continue via the ACE line to Pleasanton,
Livermore, and San Joaquin County.
Estimated to cost up to $11.8 billion, a
new rail tube between downtown San
Francisco and downtown Oakland is the
most expensive option examined, according
to the study. Additional options included a
mid-bay freeway bridge just north of SF
Airport ($8.2 billion), widening of the San
Mateo Bridge ($2 billion), a new BART tube
between downtown San Francisco and
The poor economic situation since last
year has caught up with various transit
agencies all over the Bay Area.
For a number of Bay Area transit carri-
ers, the drop in fares and tax revenue sources
is forcing cutbacks. In San Mateo County,
SamTrans recently approved a fare increase
to cover the agency's deficit. BART directors
are looking at various cost-saving measures
and are considering implementing parking
fees to reduce an operating shortfall of about
$60 million in the 2002-2003 fiscal year.
In Santa Clara County, the Valley
Transportation Authority (VTA) has suffered
a significant drop in sales tax revenue. VTA
relies on this revenue to cover 80% of its
bus and light rail operating costs. The
downturn prompted VTA to propose a 15%
fare increase and 5% reduction on transit
services. As part of the service reduction
plan, VTA proposed eliminating a number of
routes that connect with Caltrain. In addition,
VTA plans to layoff about 300 employees to
reduce operating expenditures.
San Francisco Muni has made minor
cuts in bus frequency on a few routes, and
AC Transit was about to consider a fare
increase as this newsletter was going to press.
The sudden drop in sales tax revenue
A major goal of BayRail Alliance has
been to convince government officials and
the public that Caltrain is the future of rail
transit on the Peninsula. For San Mateo
County officials and business leaders,
BayRail Alliance debuted a series of three-
dimensional images and animations depicting
a potential future Caltrain system. BayRail
presented these at the Transportation Summit
hosted by Samceda, the San Mateo County
Economic Development Association, on
April 12. The Samceda Summit featured a panel
discussion on "BART, Caltrain, Or Both."
One of the 3D images presented by
BayRail depicted an electrified, aerodynamic
express train bypassing a local train at a four-
track Caltrain station. An animated map
depicted the movement of express and local
trains along the Peninsula, "Some people
looked at the images and were amazed of how
sleek and modern Caltrain looks in our
vision," said BayRail board member Dan
Krause.The 3D renderings are a component of
BayRail's campaign to promote a vision for
Bay Area conventional rail. As a part of that
vision, BayRail is advocating a vastly
upgraded local train service named Caltrain
Metro, which features frequent trains at least
once every 15 minutes all day, level boarding,
new electrified multiple-unit (self propelled)
Bay Crossing Study
Supports
Dumbarton Rail
[See
Dumbarton
, page 4]
[See
3D
, page 2]
[See
Higher fares
, page 2]
BayRail's Vision for Caltrain Turns 3D
BayRail's Vision for Caltrain Turns 3D