The Daily Outrage: Aug. 6, 2008

Caltrain fees: Riders may be hit with increased fares

WHO: Caltrain

WHAT: The transit agency has proposed two types of 25-cent hikes — either a flat rate increase or a 25-cent increase per zone travelled. That could mean riders see an increase of 5.3 percent or 12.8 percent, depending on which proposal is chosen.

WHY THEY’RE DOING IT: Caltrain says the proposed increases are to offset rising fuel prices, which it says have nearly doubled in the last 16 months. The 25-cent base-fare increase would raise $943,000 per year; the 25-cent per zone increase would raise $2 million.

WHY IT’S A BAD IDEA: Ridership on Caltrain, as with other public transportation agencies, is at an all-time high with nearly 38,000 daily riders. Most of these people are taking to public transportation in an effort to avoid the high cost of gas. Caltrain, which does not have a dedicated source of funding, needs to find a revenue source apart from its riders.

WHERE TO VENT: The Caltrain board of directors, which includes Muni chief Nathaniel Ford and San Mateo County Supervisor Jerry Hill, is meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday. The meeting location is 1250 San Carlos Ave. in San Carlos. Comments to the board can also be sent via e-mail to board@caltrain.com or faxed to (650) 508-6281.

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