Meet the new CEO of Caltrain

Earlier this year, the San Mateo Transit Authority ushered in a new era with the hiring of Jim Hartnett as the new General Manager and CEO of Caltrain. A lifelong resident of San Mateo County, Jim grew up riding the system he will now oversee.

“I’ve been riding transit in San Mateo County almost all my life,” says the new director. “When I was young, I would ride the train to Hillsdale Shopping Center – when I was in grammar school.”

Recently, Hartnett reflected on the major issues and demands on the agency as he comes aboard to steer Caltrain through what is widely acknowledged as a time of great change. Hartnett joins the agency after helping lead an agreement with California’s High Speed Rail to help support and partially finance modernization efforts for the heavily-utilized commuter line. Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 7.54.21 AM

Mr. Hartnett said, “I’m joining the agency at a time when the services provided by the District are increasingly complex and in ever greater demand. To keep up with this demand the agency will have to grow and change to reflect the new realities of transit service in the Bay Area.”

“It’s really important that we modernize the Caltrain commuter railroad… by delivering the service in an environmentally sound way.”

Caltrain, a hub of public transportation on the Peninsula and for Bay Meadows, is currently in the process of a major upgrade. The Caltrain Modernization Program (CalMod) will electrify and upgrade the performance, operating efficiency, capacity, safety and reliability of Caltrain’s commuter rail service by 2019. A key component to CalMod is the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP). Currently, Caltrains are diesel. The PCEP will change the trains to electricfy multiple unit trains for service between San Francisco and Tamien Station in San Jose.

“It’s a tremendous investment by the community, the state and the federal government,” said Hartnett. “We play a really important part in the quality of life for the people who live here and work here.”

“We’re part of one of the most exciting and dynamic regions, not just in the state, but in the country.”

A rendering of an electrified Caltrain.

A rendering of an electrified Caltrain.

The vibrant Bay Meadows Town Square will be the ideal gathering place with ground floor retail, outdoor dining, pop-ups and more. Modeled after European plazas, it will include a large central fountain as the focal point and will serve as an energetic and dynamic urban core with plenty to keep you occupied. Once Caltrain is electrified, the platform will be elevated and grade separations will be installed on 31st and 28th Avenues, which means the Town Square will be the perfect place to relax outside for a glass of wine or an ice cream after a day of shopping at Hillsdale Mall.