Caltrans announced Monday that Highway 101 would not reopen for at least another week due in part to this weekend’s rain forecast. The freeway has been shut down in both directions since the deadly storm in Montecito last Tuesday. Authorities said they are moving slowly in part because human remains could be buried in the mud caught in the highway.
Additional railcars were added on Sunday to the 10 existing trains traveling through the Santa Barbara area, Amtrak reported. They provide more than 2,000 additional seats. There are a total of 15,000 Ventura County residents who work in Santa Barbara, according to the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments.
Passengers can use their train ticket for a free transfer to all MTD buses and shuttle services in Santa Barbara, Amtrak said. Rail passengers said the railcars have been packed to capacity. On one southbound trip, a dozen passenger squeezed into the restroom. Other commuters, particularly doctors and nurses, have taken ferry rides.
The city’s bus system announced a free special shuttle will run Monday-Friday at the train stops in Santa Barbara and Goleta to nearby bus stops. In Santa Barbara, Metropolitan Transit District shuttles will go between the State and Yanonali stop (on the train-station side of State) to the Transit Center downtown on Chapala Street. Two shuttles will run in Goleta: One will go to the Citrix Campus at Palo Alto and Hollister; the second will head toward Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital and also Old Town.
On Monday morning, 18 buses — carrying up to 900 passengers — transported “critical” workers north before sunrise. The school district, MTD, and the Coastal Express contributed buses. They will return south after dark.
Passengers traveling alternate routes between Santa Barbara and Ventura said the trip could take more than four hours. Caltrans advised drivers to take Highway 46 — which has four lanes — and Highway 5. On Monday, a semi truck toppled over on Highway 166, forcing cars to use the shoulder to get around it.