Haven't ridden Caltrain in a while - stopovers and maximum fares on Clipper

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

BCL

Engineer
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
4,219
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
So we were thinking of making a trip this weekend and maybe going up to San Francisco. The only issue would be going northbound, making a stopover at an intermediate point, and then continuing on to San Francisco. I thought that it was a possibility and I called their customer service number but didn't get an answer if I could do this. I remember Caltrain pamphlets used to say that one had four hours to complete a trip.

However, I finally found this:

Fare Structure - Effective 6/3/21

One-Way Ticket
Valid for use within four hours of the date and time sold. One-way Tickets are honored for one-way passage away from the point of origin, including stopovers/transfers, within the zone(s) indicated on such tickets.

********
Stopovers and transfers are permitted within zones indicated on tickets provided travel is completed within the ticket's validity period. For One-way Tickets, travel can only continue and be completed in the original direction of travel. Oneway Tickets cannot be used to reverse direction.

21607


I'm also thinking about how I'd do this using Clipper, especially with the possibility that the train is delayed and I have to tag off and it's more than four hours. I was thinking that with a paper ticket that fare inspectors might have some flexibility. But it looks like there's no particular need to tag off if one has already tagged on with the maximum fare, which is what would happen if I boarded at (let's say) Mountain View.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 8, 2022
Messages
5
Location
San Francisco
Depends how long you are planning to stopover but I would say just tap in at your start station, and don't tap out until your final station while being aware of the 4 hours. Unless there is a rare major issue, Caltrain is rarely delayed, it's very different than Amtrak long distance. I do this often for stopovers in Burlingame, San Mateo, Redwood City, etc. Luckily the Peninsula is built around the Caltrain corridor so lends itself very well to exploring the many small towns around the stations. You may also consider the day pass for greater flexibility but that's best for round trip. Buying one-ways for each segment I recall isn't that much more than a single one-way from start to end station so if you want to be really safe that's the way to go.
 

BCL

Engineer
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
4,219
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Depends how long you are planning to stopover but I would say just tap in at your start station, and don't tap out until your final station while being aware of the 4 hours. Unless there is a rare major issue, Caltrain is rarely delayed, it's very different than Amtrak long distance. I do this often for stopovers in Burlingame, San Mateo, Redwood City, etc. Luckily the Peninsula is built around the Caltrain corridor so lends itself very well to exploring the many small towns around the stations. You may also consider the day pass for greater flexibility but that's best for round trip. Buying one-ways for each segment I recall isn't that much more than a single one-way from start to end station so if you want to be really safe that's the way to go.

When I called in, a day pass is what the agent recommended. But he said he wasn't sure what the total time allowed would be or even if stopovers was allowed. I was confused because I saw that 4 hour (same direction) limit in those printed schedules/pamplets that they used to have on trains.

We did end up doing it all within 4 hours. Made sure to tag on in Mountain View just before the train arrived to maximize the use of the four hours if needed. Maximum fare wasn't actually to San Francisco. Maximum fare was to Gilroy even though we tagged at the northbound platform, so we needed to tag off before . I guess theoretically one could tag at the southbound platform and then walk over to the northbound platform to board. It's not like SMART where all stations have a single platform with two sides.

We boarded a ballpark special to the Giants game that started at Palo Alto. It was really strange how it arrived about a half hour before the next scheduled northbound train and just parked there until about 6 minutes before the regularly scheduled train arrived. It was mostly Giants fans with some Dodgers fans sprinkled in. And the alcohol was flowing freely.

I think it's possible to do a lot more stopovers within 4 hours if it's a weekday schedule with frequent commute hour service.
 
Top