GILROYAfter being shut down for three years during the pandemic, public bus service between Monterey and Santa Clara counties returned on Monday, marking a move towards regular, affordable transit service connecting Silicon Valley to the Central California coast.
“The restoration of this service is a vital connector for thousands who rely on public transit in our communities,” said Greg Richardson, chief financial officer of the Valley Transportation Authority at a press conference on Monday. “Our world is getting smaller, we’re becoming more connected, and anything that we as a transit service can do to help that connectivity is an advantage for all of us.”
The press conference and ribbon cutting at the Gilroy Transit Center was presented jointly by the VTA and Monterey-Salinas Transit District; in attendance were Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, California Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, Gilroy Mayor Marie Blankley and more.
“These new transportation projects are lifelines – lifelines for families, for friends, for working, for recreation. And they are reducing our region’s carbon footprint,” said Rivas at the event. “This is something that ties our region together.”
Four round trips between Gilroy Transit Center and Salinas Intermodal Transit Center will be available every weekday, at a cost of $2 per ride. The renewed service is funded by $237,000 in federal dollars administered through Caltrans, as well as $141,000 from Monterey-Salinas Transit District and $50,000 from the Valley Transportation Authority.
Service first began in 2005, running between Monterey and Diridon Station in San Jose and expanding to reach San Jose Airport in 2016. But after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Monterey-Salinas Transit had to cut back services.
However, staff from the organization soon noticed that users were asking for services to be reinstated, said Carl Sedoryk, CEO of Monterey-Salinas Transit District. Many of them were workers who could not afford to live in Silicon Valley, but had to commute for hospitality, service, food, or housekeeping jobs – “not jobs you can do from home,” he said.
“And now this provides them an opportunity to lower their cost of transportation, which is the second-highest cost you have next to your housing, so we can help hard-working people get to jobs,” said Sedoryk. “That’s what we’re here for.”
More information on the new service is available at mst.org/routes/route-59.
https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/10/30/public-bus-service-returns-between-santa-clara-and-monterey-counties/ Public bus service returns between Santa Clara and Monterey Counties