A Public Health Order has been issued that requires Bay Area residents in six counties, including San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, to shelter in place as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Public transit services, such as Caltrain, are identified as “essential” under the order and will continue to operate, however, use of public transportation is limited to essential required travel only. Caltrain will operate on a reduced peak-hour schedule that goes into effect tomorrow, March 17. Morning and afternoon peak hour service will no longer feature Baby Bullet Service.
Local and limited service will continue to operate, as will off–peak service, including midday and weekend service. Caltrain will be constantly monitoring ridership during this time and may implement additional service changes, as needed. Ridership will be monitored closely to ensure that riders are able to practice social distancing in accordance with Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. Caltrain continues to maintain daily onboard cleaning and sanitation protocols in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines.
Prior to the order, Caltrain has been assessing the overall impact that reduced ridership has had on its ability to maintain operations in the coming months. One-way and Day Pass ticket sales have declined by approximately 75% from their levels two weeks ago, and more dramatic reductions in ridership are expected. With no other dedicated source of funding, Caltrain relies primarily on fares to cover the system’s operating costs.
The public health order is intended to be in place until April 7, 2020, but may be extended or reduced.