Used to be that you could only ride the bus on Amtrak’s San Joaquins Route 7, which hits 18 stops between Cal Poly Humboldt and beautiful downtown Martinez, if you had also purchased a segment of train travel as part of your trip.
Thanks to some state legislation (SB 742) passed in 2019 and collaboration with local stakeholders, bus-only tickets are now available between all 18 stops along Route 7.
Here’s a press release from Amtrak San Joaquins with more info:
Riders traveling on Amtrak’s San Joaquins Route 7, the Thruway Bus route extending from the Martinez Amtrak Station to Arcata (Cal Poly Humboldt) and encompassing a total of 18 stops, can now purchase bus-only tickets for all city pairs along the route. This recent expansion of service significantly broadens the scope and connectivity of the bus top pairs previously available on Route 7.
This expansion along Route 7, which was approved by the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA) Board of Directors at the July 21 meeting, represents the latest step in Amtrak San Joaquins’ efforts to provide a comprehensive transportation alternative to travelers in communities throughout the state, beyond where the train can service.
Historically, travelers on all Thruway Bus routes were required to have a segment of train travel as part of their overall trip to travel on the Thruway Bus. However, state legislation, SB 742 authored by Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), was passed in 2019 to remove the requirement for intercity passenger rail/thruway bus services to sell companion rail tickets as a condition of the sale. As such, following extensive planning coordination, in 2021 after the impacts of the pandemic had eased, SJJPA opened parts of the Amtrak San Joaquins Route 7 as well as Routes 1c, 10, 18, and 19 for bus-only sales.
“We are pleased to now be at the point where we can expand connectivity along Route 7 to its fullest extent,” said Pat Hume, Chair for the SJJPA. “Fully opening Route 7 is a result of extensive collaboration with local stakeholders and regional transit providers and is a part of our ongoing effort to make Amtrak San Joaquins a comprehensive transportation solution for communities statewide.”
Making Amtrak’s Thruway bus routes available to non-rail riders brings several benefits including:
- Improved access to transit for priority and underserved communities.
- Reduction in greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions by diverting trips that would have previously been taken by an automobile.
- Reduced car trips on some of the state’s most congested freeways.
- Better utilization of current transit infrastructure.
- Increased revenues for the state at virtually no additional cost.
The bus-only ticketing options and fares are now available in the following locations:
- Route 7: Martinez - Napa - Santa Rosa – Humboldt State University - Arcata
- Route 1C: Bakersfield - Van Nuys - West Los Angeles/UCLA - Santa Monica
- Route 10: Santa Barbara - Bakersfield - Barstow - Las Vegas
- Route 15: Merced – Yosemite & Fresno – Yosemite (seasonal)
- Route 18: Hanford - Lemoore - San Luis Obispo - Santa Maria
- Route 19: Bakersfield - Pasadena - Riverside - San Bernadino