Priority Inversion

Caltrain has posted their new schedule. Beginning August 1st, the number of weekday trains increases from 88 to 96. The idea is to run more trains, but since more of them are express trains, which both attract more passengers and cost less to run, it will save Caltrain money. Among other changes, this new schedule cuts service to less frequently used stations, including the one closest to me (San Antonio).

With today’s (effective May 2nd, 2005) schedule, 31 northbound and 32 southbound trains stop at San Antonio each weekday, approximately one every half hour. The new schedule has 26 trains stopping there in each direction. What’s interesting is the schedule: For example, between 7:00am and 10:00am, fourtheen northbound trains will come through San Antonio, but only three will stop. Similar numbers hold during evening peak hours and in the cross-commute direction. But during non-peak hours (10am to 4pm), when Caltrain runs two trains an hour, all of them still stop.

In other words, during mid-day, I can catch Caltrain every thirty minutes. But during the morning and evening commute hours, only one train per hour stops at San Antonio station, even though more than twice as many trains are running.

I understand the reasoning behind this schedule, but I find the way it turned out a little amusing.