New Caltrain schedule aimed at helping essential workers starts Monday

File Photo. Caltrain Locomotive 918 heads south in San Mateo County. Photo Copyright: Duncan Sinfield/KTVU. (Duncan Sinfield/KTVU)

Caltrain is implementing a new schedule starting Monday aimed at improving service for essential workers and others dependent on public transit who have continued riding the agency's trains amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has reduced overall ridership by 95 percent.

The new schedule includes more frequent off-peak and weekend service, with the ridership nine months into the pandemic tending to be essential workers who may travel during off-peak times.

There will be 68 trains on weekdays, with two trains per hour, per direction running throughout the day, allowing for 30-minute frequency at stations in higher demand, including the connection to or from BART at Millbrae.

On the weekends, Caltrain will run hourly Local service instead of the current 90-minute frequency, among other changes. The agency says weekend riders make up 17 percent of overall ridership, three times more than before the pandemic.

According to Caltrain, about 3,600 riders currently ride its trains on weekdays, and the agency does not expect ridership to fully recover in the new year.

Among other changes taking place soon is the permanent closure of the Atherton station next Saturday, allowing Caltrain to focus service on stations with higher ridership levels like Redwood City and Menlo Park.

The new schedule can be found here.