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Poll: Should We Invest More Money in Caltrain, BART or Buses?

Which mode of public transportation is more valuable to the Peninsula?

Public transportation is often considered the lifeblood of an area, a necessary network that connects people from their homes to work and other areas of business.

Along the Peninsula, Bart and Caltrain are the two main modes of transportation and residents each have their own ideas of how to improve each.

Some say we should bring Bart all the way down the Peninsula. Others contend that the electrification of Caltrain is far cheaper than building more Bart stations down the Peninsula. Champions of the bus system argue that its users rely on the system the most.

Reality Check July 31, 2012 at 04:15 AM
Fixed guideway (trains on rails) is better and more cost efficient for some corridors and ridership load/demand profiles and buses for others. As mentioned before ... any decent transit network in a large, relatively dense built up metro region (such as the Bay Area) will consist of both. Bus and rail each play an important and, with proper system/route/schedule design, complementary role. Dedicated right-of-way trains excel in moving quickly and extremely safely through high traffic, high-congestion areas (e.g. subways) with high ridership demand. They also generally excel in longer distance trips across congestion plagued areas with few stops and very competitively high average speed. Buses definitely play a role for all kinds of routes and demand profiles that it would be prohibitively expensive or technically impossible/infeasible (e.g. Emerald Hills, low-density/demand residential areas, etc.) to serve using rail.
Reality Check July 31, 2012 at 04:30 AM
The multi-billion dollar BART SJ extension is in the pipeline and has been responsible for preventing transit rail service connecting Fremont BART to SJ much sooner. (BART has an enormous opportunity cost because it is built just about expensively as Americas Finest Transit Professionals and Construction Contractors are able). Feeding the BART obsession is also the reason why Dumbarton Rail is not up and running as well as the Fremont/Union City-to-SJ Caltrain-like service that was already funded and in the pipeline back around 2000. Samtrans does a "pretty good job now" is hilarious. Compared to what? @Mike, you need to travel more or something. Samtrans has been on a sharp downhill slide ever since it touched the BART tar baby. Dig deep holes in the ground, fill them with cash, and then keep repeating. To make up for it, BART's fares are high and they charge an $8 surcharge for any round trip involving the SFO station ... but hey, it's still a money-sucking pit. (That's what you get when know-nothing politicians push pet projects and project designs instead of listening to transit advocacy groups filled with wonks who live and breathe transit ... and actually use it on a regular basis!) Also, @Mike is mistaken. While the "Caltrain" name came from earlier state (Caltrans) involvement in managing Caltrain, the state ended its involvement with running Caltrain in July of 1992.
Anurag July 31, 2012 at 08:31 PM
My vote is for bus service. My best commuting years were using the FX from Foster City to SF and back. Awesome schedule and comfortable ride!! Sam Trans - Please bring it back!
Mark Taylor August 01, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Rails have their use and certainly can move large amounts of people from San Jose to San Francisco. But buses better serve within cities and between them as they can go places the rails cannot. The reason passenger rail faded in this country was that it was easier to drive (or fly) than take the train. And they are more expensive per mile than buses. Caltrain is good for moving lots of people between San Jose and San Francisco but a good bus service that works with it will probably haul just as many people for short and medium trips. About SamTrans 140. I take this bus several times a week. It is the only bus that goes to El Camino and San Bruno Bart (the 121 goes the other direction) from where I live. There is no direct connection to San Bruno Caltrain (when the station was by the 380 underpass some years ago the 140 stopped nearby). But when the Sylvan Station and Bart were done, the nearest 140 stop was at Green & San Bruno (by the wash and fold). A short walk then but now the temporary station is much further south so it is a 15-20 minute walk. I usually go to Millbrae to catch the train (a 2 zone ticket gets free rides on SamTrans).
gc August 02, 2012 at 09:20 PM
We should invest in bike paths that connect SF and the peninsula and allow cyclists to safely get from place to place without having to drive or ride a train/bus. This would be relatively cheap and more sustainable and forward-looking. Ideally, bikes/cars could be on separate roads as putting them together seems to incite road rage. Fund it with an increase in the gas tax!

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