Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Caltrain Fare Hike

Posted by Phil Aaronson at 10:11 AM

I love this misleading press releases: Caltrain Fares To Change January 1, 2006.

The 5.6% increase they're touting in particular. The reality is that the cost of a one-way ticket rose by $0.25 across the board in this latest increase. For a one-zone trip the price went from $2.00 to $2.25. That's a 12.5% increase. For four-zone trip, which is San Francisco to San Jose the price went from $6.50 to $6.75, a 3.8% change. Go back a little further and compare to 2002 fares the trend gets very clear. In 2002 a one zone ticket cost $1.50, where one zone was slightly smaller than it is today and the San Jose/San Francisco trip cost $6.00. Since 2002, local users have seen a whopping %50 increase, while San Francisco/San Jose commuters have seen a 12.5% increase or roughly $0.75 across the board.

The message they're sending of course is simply, don't use Caltrain for short, local trips. Now that a one zone ticket costs $2.25, more than a ticket on the NYC subway, it's time to introduce a one stop (one stop not one zone) ticket for local use at about $1.

[Update: 7-Jan-2006] After I posted the original note, I also sent a copy via the Caltrain feedback form. They sent me a response pointing out that the Gilroy to San Francisco fare has only increased 2.7% and that senior fares remain the same. They also pointed out that most of their riders travel relatively long distances.

Which is pretty much exactly my point. Of course most of Caltrain's customers travel relatively long distances, their fare pricing policies have made sure of that.


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