Caltrain Conducts Annual Ridership Counts


Caltrain has begun conducting its annual onboard count of riders. The count will provide critical information for planning future service improvements, allocating limited resources and validating ridership estimates based on ticket sales. In addition to an overall count of riders, the data is used to determine such things as the most popular stations and trains utilized in the Caltrain system.

The annual count started on Tuesday, January 22, and will conclude in February. During the count, there will be field surveyors on trains at every door in the vestibule area collecting data. The physical head count of riders is conducted this time of year because there are typically fewer holidays and special events that could skew ridership numbers. And, by conducting the count at the same time each year, baseline ridership is established and used for year to year comparisons. 

Every weekday train will be counted twice on either a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday and then averaged. Riders will not be counted on Mondays or Fridays as ridership on these days is generally lower and does not capture maximum ridership. There will be no weekend train counts this year due to impacts from the Weekend San Francisco Caltrain Closure, as tunnel construction continues.

The count will also include the number of bike boardings, bike riders not able to board the train due to overcrowding and riders needing assistance utilizing the passenger lifts.

Results of the 2019 passenger count will be released after the data has been analyzed. The results of previous counts are posted on the Caltrain website:


About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with limited commute service to Gilroy. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad celebrated 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. 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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