Caltrain Running on Empty

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Caltrain will consider cutting its service significantly in the next 15 months

    It could be the end of the line for some who depend on Caltrain.

    Faced with a staggering deficit, the raiload will consider cutting its service significantly in the next 15 months. Changes could include cutting midday, late night and weekend service and would take effect by June 2011. The service cuts could happen all at once or in phases. The cuts could start by fall.

    The agency is losing money due to a combination of factors, including the loss of $10 million in state funding for each of the past three years and declining ridership, which accounts for 40 percent of the agency's revenue.

    "Caltrain never had a dedicated funding source," spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew said. "We've been running on a deficit for quite some time, and now everything is coming to a head."

    Caltrain has a $97 million annual budget and faces a $2.7 million deficit for the current fiscal year. The deficit could balloon to about $30 million, Bartholomew said.

    The agency Caltrain receives $40 million in annual funding  from the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, the San Francisco  Municipal Transportation Agency, and the San Mateo County Transit District, or SamTrans, which serves as the managing agency for Caltrain.

    Bay City News contributed to this report.