Caltrain may cut half its service

April 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A blunt admission came from Caltrain Thursday night -- it's broke. And barring any last minute bailout, the rail system is preparing to wipe out half of its service. If that happens, that could mean no more train service at night or weekends.

The San Francisco Giants are very concerned about hearing that. Executives told ABC7 Caltrain is very critical to their peninsula fans.

"Anybody who lives on the peninsula and is a fan of the Giants understands the best way to get to the ballpark is on Caltrain," said Caltrain spokesperson Mark Simon.

Even Caltrain officials know these trains are essential to Giants fans, but they are the very ones who are talking about cutting train service on nights and weekends, when most of the games are played.

"What we're looking at is a severe fiscal crisis that has as its possible outcome devastating cuts to our service," said Simon.

"I think that would be horrible. I don't think there would be as many people going to the games," said Giants fan Tori Beene.

Fans boarding the train Thursday night for the Giants' exhibition game, want Caltrain to cut somewhere else. The trains are not only a convenient way to get to the city, some look at it as a safety issue.

"I think there would be a lot of DUIs and drunk-driving accidents," said Giants fan Daniel Mercado.

Caltrain says just about everything has gone wrong for them in the budget department. The state stopped sending money, they have fewer riders, and the three local agencies that fund 40 percent of Caltrain, are also broke.

"All three agencies have sales taxes as one of the main sources of revenue. Sales are down, revenues are down," said Simon.

It is creating the worst budget problem Caltrain has ever faced. Raising fares is not an option. Officials say they just jacked up the price of a ticket last year, doing it again might chase away customers. However, cutting the service could cost the Giants some customers.

"I think just for people on the peninsula they wouldn't do it anymore. It'd be such a hassle, not as fun," said Giants fan Kristina Acosta.

"We're open to suggestions from anybody including the Giants, but it's a tough set of decisions," says Simon.

They're also looking to cut some of the bus service for some Samtrans routes. The outlook is grim.

They are looking to vote on all this in June. Giants officials say they will be staying on top of this issue.


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