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Sonoma County Gazette
SMART Train at station

SMART Train Ready for Public Preview Rides

Jun 15, 2017


The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) District s preparing for a "soft launch" with FREE Preview Rides for the public, as the agency awaits final approval from the Federal Railroad Administration to start full passenger service.

SMART is inviting the public to weigh in on which days of the week they would like to take preview rides, and which stations they think they will use to ride the SMART train. SMART will announce the preview ride schedule upon completion of a Federal Railroad Administration audit.

SMART has reached a milestone and is ready to go:

43 miles of track has been rebuilt;

24 bridges have been replaced or refurbished;

63-at-grade crossings have been rebuilt;

and thousands of required tests have been successfully completed.

After the audit, the final piece for federal regulators will be to sign off on SMART’sPositive Train Control System (PTC). Positive Train Control is an enhanced safety feature that prevents trains from exceeding speed limits, for any reason. If operators exceed speed limits, they receive an audible warning. If they do not immediately reduce speeds, the train will safely come to a stop automatically. SMART has completed more than 2,000 PTC tests, and will be among the first passenger rail systems to open with this enhanced safety feature.

SMART is asking people to weigh in on Facebook @SonomaMarinTrain; Twitter@SMARTtrain; or Instagram @SonomaMarinTrainby using #SMARTpreview. People can also email their preferences to, or call the SMART hotline at (707) 794- 3077.

Check out the SMART Train website for Trip Planning:

Be Ready to Ride SMART!

Get 50% discount on fares with Senior Clipper card

Sonoma and Marin residents are eagerly anticipating the launch of the new Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) train service. The first phase of the new passenger rail service, from San Rafael to Santa Rosa, is expected to start operations this summer. SMART will offer free rides to all when the service begins and discounted rides to adults from July 5 to September 4. SMART riders will be able to use Clipper®, the Bay Area’s reloadable transit card, to pay their fares. SMART is encouraging everyone who wants to ride to be ready for the train by getting a Clipper card and adding value.

Take Advantage of Discounts

If you are 65 or older, you can get a 50 percent discount off regular adult fares if you have a Senior Clipper card. The Senior Clipper card also guarantees discounted fares on connecting bus services offered by Golden Gate Transit, Marin Transit, Petaluma Transit, Santa Rosa CityBus and Sonoma County Transit, and all other Bay Area transit agencies.

Apply for a free Senior Clipper card by mail, email or fax by downloading an application at This site also identifies locations where you can apply for a card in person and a list of documentation you can provide to demonstrate your eligibility, such as a passport, state ID or driver’s license.

Adding Value and Using Your Card

Once you have a Clipper card, you can add cash value (accepted by all participating transit agencies), a SMART 31-day pass or a combination.

If you apply in person at a transit agency, you can add value at the same time. Otherwise, you can add value at, by calling 877.878.8883 or at participating retailers (visit the website for a list or BELOW for Sonoma County sites). Once SMART starts service, you can also add value at one of the ticket machines located on every SMART station platform or at the SMART ticket office in Petaluma. Make sure you have a valid pass or a minimum of $1.75 in cash value on your card ($3.50 for adults) before you board. For detailed fare information, visit

To use your card, locate the Clipper card reader on the platform. Tag your card by holding it flat to the Clipper logo on the card reader. Wait for the beep and green light, and then board the train. You also need to remember to tag off – by tagging your card again – when you get off the train. This ensures you are charged the correct fare.

Your Money is Protected                                                         

Senior Clipper cards are automatically registered when they are issued, which means that your balance is protected if your card is lost or stolen – Clipper will replace your card and restore your balance for a small fee. Clipper encourages seniors to set up an online account to manage their cards. Just call Clipper Customer Service at 877.878.8883 for assistance.

For more information about Clipper, visit


Sonoma County Transit
355 West Robles Ave., Santa Rosa
Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Santa Rosa CityBus
100 Santa Rosa Ave., Room 6, Santa Rosa
Monday–Thursday, 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Open every other Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
(Call 707.543.3333 to confirm when open)

Petaluma Transit
555 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma
Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.


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