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What Will it Cost to Ride the SMART Train?

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What Will it Cost to Ride the SMART Train?
SMART Train Public Meeting Recap

Many good questions came from attendees who commute to the City – which is one of the main targets of public transportation... regular commuters who suffer through hours of traffic jams to get to and from work. 

Much focused on fares, but there were calculations that compared traveling in your own vehicle that include total cost: Gas, insurance, wear and tear and TIME since the commutes are about twice as long in your own vehicle – and the idea of being trapped and having to pay attention vs. relaxed and sleeping, reading working on your laptop, etc. 

Yes, there is a STOP right at the water because the train CANNOT go into the City, so connecting to the FERRY in Larkspur is the key – and to Gold Gate Transit buses in San Rafael.

Fares are charged according to how far you travel on the train – so if you were to ride from Windsor to Santa Rosa, it would cost $3.50 – if you went all the way to San Rafael it would cost $11.50 – BUT – if you are a Senior, College student, Veteran or have a qualifying disability, the fare is reduced 50%. Santa Rosa to San Rafael? $9.50 or $4.75 at 50% discount.

Businesses and groups can get bulk passes for 23% to 44% discounts. The IRS allows transportation tax deductions for employers with 50 or more employees so it adds to a company’s incentive to get Eco-passes for their employees. This could also apply to schools where children commute in their parents one of the attendees asked about younger than college age discount passes.

All the passes are purchased with the Clipper Card, which is another system getting updated. Load the card with money; it knows who you are and what discounts apply and you slip the card into the system when boarding and getting off so it knows how far you have traveled, etc. There is also a maximum charge for a daily commute: $23.00 for non-discounted fare and $11.50 for discounted fare. 

Shuttle services are in the works but with public transportation, all local bus companies are getting involved – and private shuttles, many small companies are looking at adding SMART shuttle services to their recipe of services. Another entrepreneurial opportunity.

Bottom line: It’s coming along and yes, everyone wants to go to Cloverdale and that means getting tracks to Healdsburg first. More millions of dollars to upgrade the right of way to tracks that can handle high speed trains.

Piece by piece this gets done. Since I come from where trains were the normal way to commute, I truly believe that people will get into this once they literally get on board. Settling into your seat and relaxing on a long commute is the total opposite of being stuck in traffic jams.