Caltrain has launched a program that allows Go Pass subscribers to donate unused 2021 passes to a network of qualified community-serving organizations.
The program, still at the pilot stage, is intended to increase access to the Caltrain system, build ridership across a diverse market, and preserve Go Pass participation through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The pilot will use 700 unlimited-ride Go Passes donated by Intuit, using Clipper Cards provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). The passes will go to community-serving organizations throughout the three counties Caltrain serves, to be distributed to their clients who could benefit from a Go Pass. A full launch of the program is planned for January, which will run throughout 2022, using donations received from Go Pass subscribers this fall.
“The Caltrain Board applauds the donations of Intuit and MTC, which have made the first phase of the new program possible,” said Caltrain Board Chair Dev Davis. “This is a wonderful opportunity to support the works of many organizations that serve our community, and we look forward to more companies joining this effort.”
“This donation helps solve equity needs in our backyard and strengthen the communities around us,” said Tom Harrington, Intuit Global Commute Solutions Leader. “We are proud to donate 700 Go Passes to the local organizations serving our communities.”
“The Go Pass is a terrific benefit to our clients, our staff and our community,” said Bart Charlow, CEO of Samaritan House, one of the organizations receiving Go Passes. “Thank you Caltrain and all of your donors for advancing equity and your commitment to community service.”
In September 2020, Caltrain approved its Equity, Connectivity, Recovery & Growth Policy to help ensure that the rail service’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic expanded access to low-income individuals and communities of color that have historically been underrepresented in the system’s ridership. This is necessary for the long-term success of Caltrain, both financially and in regards to its goal to provide transportation access to those who most need it. The Go Pass Donation Program helps to achieve the Policy’s goal of expanding access to the Caltrain system.
Due to the pandemic, Caltrain has already made many adjustments to the Go Pass program. The agency extended the 2020 Go Pass to be valid through March 2021, and the 2021 Go Pass was sold at a 25% discount to a pro-rated cost, to account for the shorter duration of the 2021 Go Pass, as well as continued uncertainty related to commuting patterns and usage of the passes.
On August 30, Caltrain began running more service than it did before the pandemic, with 104 trains running every weekday, more service at peak hours, midday and evenings as well as the return of the Baby Bullet. This increase in service outside of traditional commuter hours was also a goal laid out by Caltrain in its Equity Policy, to include more essential workers and transit dependent individuals, who are less likely to travel on a traditional 9-5 commute schedule. The rail service is also offering a 50% discount on all fares for the month of September.
About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with commute service to Gilroy. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad has provided the community with more than 150 years of continuous passenger service. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the corridor, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations.
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