You can call it coincidence, but the new morning train may be thanks to the 101 closure after Montecito’s debris flow. People I’ve talked to think it made a difference.
A number of decision makers needed to agree on the rescheduling of the Pacific Surfliner to an earlier arrival time in Santa Barbara to accommodate commuters. The previous failed attempt raised doubts in their minds. But the unprecedented, standing room only crowd — when the other closest option was a boat — made an impression. And people who may have never ridden the train before liked it. People had no problem availing themselves of the train as their alternative transportation. Naysayers of the morning train had said they doubted that people would actually ride it, but finally here was the proof!
Dennis Story is a board member of RailPAC.org and chairs its Santa Barbara Rail Task Force.