Caltrain has delayed raising ticket fares for two years, citing increasing ridership and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The transit agency had initially planned to raise fares by 50 cents in July 2022 and July 2027, but the board of directors voted on Tuesday to freeze fares until July 1, 2025.
The decision comes as Caltrain ridership has been steadily increasing in recent months. In August, ridership was up 21% from the same month last year. The agency attributed the increase to a number of factors, including the return to work for many Bay Area residents and the start of the school year.
Caltrain officials said they are still planning to raise fares in 2025, but they want to give the agency time to assess the impact of the pandemic and the ongoing recovery. The agency is also facing financial challenges due to the loss of revenue from parking and advertising.
Overall, the decision to freeze ticket fares is a positive development for commuters in the Bay Area. With the cost of living on the rise, any relief that can be provided to commuters is welcome. By freezing ticket fares, Caltrain is taking a step in the right direction to make public transportation more accessible and affordable for everyone.
The two-year fare freeze is expected to save Caltrain riders an estimated $10 million. The agency is also considering other ways to generate revenue, such as increasing advertising and exploring partnerships with other transit agencies.