Q: BART around the Bay? NOOOOOO!!!
Tom Farrell, Santa Clara
A: Why is that?
Q: Has your reader Dave Gunter who suggested that idea ever ridden BART or Caltrain? I doubt it. If he has, he would never suggest replacing Caltrain with BART. Why is Caltrain better than BART? Let me count the ways.
- Caltrain is way quieter. Neither is very quiet, but BART screeches like a banshee.
- BART is a financial black hole. Santa Clara County has passed three sales taxes since 2000 to bring BART there and we still don’t know when those stations on the east side will open, let alone when it gets to Diridon and Santa Clara.
- Caltrain is proceeding with electrification and grade separations. I realize each county has to give some of its sales tax revenue to Caltrain, but it doesn’t seem as much of a drain on the public coffers as BART is.
- Caltrain is way more bike-friendly. It was way ahead of BART in terms of allowing bikes on its trains, it has way more space to accommodate bicycles, and it provides bungee cords for your bike. On BART, you have to sit or stand near your bike and hold it so it doesn’t fall over.
- You can eat (and even drink booze) on Caltrain.
A: Whoa. A column last week suggesting that BART someday go from Santa Clara to Millbrae brought out the “I love Caltrain” crowd.
Q: Are you aware that a well-implemented Caltrain electrification program will make BART between Millbrae and San José redundant and unnecessary? Beginning in 2023, Caltrain will be running eight trains an hour during peak periods and could run trains as often as every quarter-hour during the rest of the day.
Cliff Bargar/, San Francisco
A: Caltrain says ridership could surge to 180,000 a day in the next two decades, with express trains every 15 minutes. It now carries 65,000 passengers a day.
And 75 percent of Caltrain’s diesel trains will be replaced.
Q: Caltrain service isn’t flawless, but delays are usually because of trespassers on the tracks, or because something on one of the old trains has failed. With electrification will come new trains, more separated crossings, and (hopefully) more passing tracks in places like Redwood City.
BART on the Peninsula has insurmountable challenges. BART is a local train, while Caltrain has express service, making Caltrain much faster. Replacing Caltrain with BART would also require the colossal expense of entirely new tracks, trains, and signaling. BART around the Bay is not realistic.
Duncan Keefe, San Jose
A: Colossal indeed.
BART up the Peninsula? Horrible idea, they say: Roadshow