SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A long-awaited commuter service involving a precisely timed Amtrak Pacific Surfliner will begin April 2 between Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.
The demand has been high for traffic relief for years. The recent disasters, which left the area with a transit mess and broken bridges on Highway 192, has resulted in extreme congestion during peak hours.
An estimated 15,000 vehicles are using that route daily for work.
Gregg Hart with the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments says, "we're pleased to provide the new service for the commuters coming up from Ventura County and this gets them out of the congestion."
Hart says during the recent disasters thousands of people used the hastily added train route.
"And we heard from a number of people that they were looking forward to trying this option. Having tried the train they are really looking forward to having it part of their daily commute," said Hart.
The planned train will have stops in Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta.
The Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) is providing free service from the train stations in Santa Barbara and Goleta to the bigger employers. That includes city and county offices, Cottage and Goleta Valley hospitals, and the Hollister business corridor. UC Santa Barbara is still working out its transit plan from the train station to the campus.
"At MTD we have been ready and able and help to provide this piece and have been working with SBCAG and the Pacific Surfliner to provide that last little bit to get people where they need to go," said MTD's Hillary Blackerby.
One rider Adam Jaster said the train is a vey user friendly option. "Lots of people will have prep time, people will be able to produce more and work better . They will be able to do things more effectively. "
He also said the ride is relaxing with many options to do some light work or converse with others.
"They have wi-fi, they have power, they have a dining car in case you want to get some breakfast and coffee to wake up in the morning."
During the first month, the rides will be free. For scheduling and fares go to http://www.trafficsolutions.org/Train.
The project has been coordinated with the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), local government leaders, and the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Board of Directors.
For more on traveling on Amtrak go to: https://www.amtrak.com/california-train-routes