Because Caltrain uses a Proof of Payment (PoP) System and has no fare gates or Automated Passenger Counters (APCs), Caltrain relies on 3 different methods for ridership reporting: 

1) Fare Media Sales Based Ridership

Monthly Total Ridership and Average Weekday Ridership (AWR) based on Fare Media Sales using a ridership model, along with other Caltrain performance statistics measures, is included in each Caltrain Board of Directors monthly agenda packet. In each agenda packet, refer to the Caltrain Performance Statistics Staff Report.

Note: Due to drastic usage pattern and ticket purchasing pattern changes among Caltrain riders triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Caltrain does not estimate ridership based on Fare Media Sales. Since April 2020, this has been temporarily replaced by an alternative ridership estimation methodology based on limited conductor counts and Clipper usage data. 

2) National Transit Database (NTD) Ridership

Caltrain provides Monthly and Fiscal Year (FY) end ridership to the NTD. Monthly ridership and FY end reported to the NTD is reported as Unlinked Passenger Trips (UPTs). Federally mandated on-board passenger counts are conducted to fulfill NTD requirements which require a random selection of statistically-valid rideschecks to represent the transit agency’s sample group. Caltrain Fiscal Year (FY) end ridership is statistically-valid as the quarterly sampling plan utilizes the NTD Sampling Template. The NTD profile for the Peninsula Corridor Joint Power Board (PCJPB), the governing body for the Caltrain, can be found on the NTD webpage.

3) Annual Count Ridership

Caltrain does an extensive onboard ridership count once a year in the January/February timeframe. The annual passenger counts are an actual census of passengers and are used to validate the monthly ridership estimation derived from fare media sales. The reports below contain key findings, including average number of weekday boardings at each station, bicycle ridership and station rankings. 

Note: The Caltrain Annual Passenger Counts were not conducted in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Caltrain 2020 Annual Count has been postponed due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.