Caltrain to reduce weekday train service starting next week

Caltrain announced Thursday that it will reduce its weekday train service by more than half starting next week amid sharp ridership losses due to the novel coronavirus.

The commuter rail service will reduce its daily weekday train service from 92 daily trains to 42 indefinitely, making all local stops between San Francisco and San Jose every 30-60 minutes. Caltrain will also suspend limited and baby bullet train service and will operate two trains to Gilroy during the morning and afternoon commute hours.

The schedule changes will begin Monday. Weekend service will remain on its normal schedule.

"Caltrain is monitoring ridership during this time and may implement additional service changes as needed while ensuring that riders can maintain social distancing in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations," the commuter rail service said in a statement. 

Like the Bay Area's other public transit entities, Caltrain ridership has plummeted as the coronavirus outbreak has gotten worse. Sales of one-way and day pass train fares have fallen 86 percent from their levels prior to the outbreak, while daily ticket sales fell 95 percent on the first day of the Bay Area's shelter-in-place order.

Fare revenue is used to cover 70 percent of Caltrain's operating costs. The $2 trillion federal stimulus package making its way through Congress includes $25 billion for public transit agencies around the country.

Caltrain officials are working with the Metropolitan Transit Commission to plan how to allocate federal funding and help local transit entities shore up their revenue and fare losses.