Caltrain, BART, and other San Francisco Bay Area transit agencies could come under one umbrella

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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Marin and Napoleon Rail Bridge Improvement Project will require weekend service closures for two weekends.
Caltrain

Public transportation in the San Francisco Bay Area needs some help attracting riders as the nation slowly recovers from the pandemic.

Seamless Bay Area (SBA), a non-profit group advocating the integration of Bay Area California public transportation agencies, yesterday released a report presenting details of how this could be accomplished.

The SBA says that its “mission is to transform the Bay Area’s fragmented and inconvenient public transit into a world-class, unified, equitable, and widely-used system by building a diverse movement for change and promoting policy reforms.”

On a more granular and immediate level, the Caltrain board of directors presented the option of merging with BART at a meeting last month to discuss Caltrain governance. Another option discussed was the option of becoming part of a regional transit agency.

BART
Might BART merge with Caltrain for better coordination of service? (Photo courtesy of BART)

According to the San Jose Mercury News, SBA’s Policy Director, Ian Griffiths, said that a well-coordinated regional transportation system would make public transit much more attractive to potential riders. Currently, traveling through and between urban centers in the Bay Area can be cumbersome, and a goal of the SBA is to make it easier for passengers to transfer from one system to the other.

As readers know, the entire public transportation industry was hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although recently announced federal funding for the industry should help, transit agencies are re-thinking their business and governance models to improve the attractiveness of transit once the pandemic is completely under control. The SBA vision could help generate long-term strength for area transit. It remains to be seen, however, how easily such a monumental task can be accomplished.

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Categories: Commuter/Regional, High-Speed Rail, Intercity, News, Passenger, Rapid Transit/Light Rail
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