Bay Area's SMART celebrates one year, offers free rides

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. — The San Francisco Bay Area’s newest rail transit system celebrates its first anniversary this week, having carried more than 700,000 passengers in its first year. It will celebrate its first year by offering free rides Saturday and Sunday.

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit began carrying passengers on Aug. 25, 2017, and has also moved some 60,000 bicycles in a year.

The system averages 2,600 to 3,000 riders on weekdays, less than the projected 3.092 daily. But  SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian gave a positive assessment of the first year to the Marin Independent Journal.

“We are very pleased with how we have done for a first year,” Mansourian said. “We are giving people an option. We are giving quality of life back for people who take the train. We have had 700,000 riders, and that means 700,000 fewer car trips over the year and we are building on that.”

Mansourian said the system still wants to fill a gap in its evening service, add to its weekend schedule, and expand the system. An extension to Larkspur, Calif., is due next year, along with a downtown station in Novato.

The 43-mile, 10-station system operates between Santa Rosa and San Rafael, using Nippon Sharyo diesel multiple unit trainsets.

The complete Independent Journal report is available here.

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