Caltrain joins regional pilot program for means-based fares

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California’s Caltrain board of directors unanimously adopted a resolution of support for the agency’s participation in a regional means-based fare pilot program. The program, led by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), will allow low-income transit riders to qualify for a discount through the use of a Clipper card. The regional pilot program is currently in the process of being developed, based on a Means-Based Fare Pilot Program Framework approved by MTC last May.

Additional Caltrain board actions will be necessary to formally approve Caltrain’s participation in the pilot program, including completing the process of updating the agency’s Codified Tariff. This resolution of support indicates that the Caltrain board intends to approve Caltrain’s participation in the regional pilot program in 2019. One of the goals of the Caltrain Fare Policy, adopted by the Caltrain board in 2018, is to “advocate for and participate in state and regional programs that make it more affordable for low-income customers to use transit.”

The regional pilot program will run for 12 to 18 months and is expected to launch in fall 2019. Adults that earn less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level will be eligible for pilot program participation and will receive a minimum discount of 20% off of single-ride adult Clipper Card fares. In addition to Caltrain, other pilot program participants include BART; San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency; and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District. The pilot program will be centrally administered and implemented on behalf of all participating agencies.

MTC staff is working in close coordination with staff from transit agencies and county social service and public health agencies in the process to develop and implement the pilot program.