Caltrain delays fare increases. Here's why and for how long

Caltrain has delayed fare increases.
Caltrain has delayed fare increases. Photo credit Getty Images

The Caltrain Board of Directors voted to postpone multiple planned fare increases in the coming months and years, the agency announced on Monday.

Caltrain originally voted in September of 2019 to increase prices on certain Clipper fare products, officials said. The Clipper discount was slated to decrease from 55 cents to 25 cents in April of this year, but that’s been pushed to July 1, 2028.

In addition, two 5% fare increases for the cost of a Go Pass, which were scheduled for Jan. 1, 2023 and Jan. 1, 2025 respectively, were each delayed a year.

The base fare was also scheduled to increase 50 cents on July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2026, but each have been delayed a year as well.

Finally, a 25 cent increase on zone charge will now go into effect on July 1, 2025 rather than the same date in 2024.

Caltrain spokesperson Dan Lieberman said the board's decision to delay these fare increases is largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"(The pandemic) did have some impacts on public transit ridership," he told KCBS Radio. "We are still in a slow but steady recovery on that front, and we felt that keeping fares low during that time would get our ridership back on track."

Lieberman added the ridership has steadily started to return.

"We're seeing slow and steady recovery, we’re seeing that recovery is actually moving very well on weekends. Giants season as well has been very good to us so far and we expect to see that continue," he explained.

A Bay Area resident named Tim, who rides Caltrain most days to and from work, said that although he had no idea fares were rising, postponing that increase is the logical thing to do.

"It probably makes sense because it doesn't seem that crowded at least at the times, not enough to where it was pre-pandemic," he told KCBS Radio. "Maybe they're just trying to not give another reason for people not to come back."

The agency plans to evaluate fare increases again later this year.

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