Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner | Credit: Courtesy LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency

Fares to ride the train Monday through Thursday just dropped. Using the code V308, one adult passenger — paying full fare — can buy as many as three additional tickets for half price, as long as it’s for the same journey and purchased at least the day before.

Round-trip trains between San Luis Obispo and San Diego run the length of south and central California daily, most popular as always during the leisure travel days of Friday through Sunday, said Roger Lopez, a spokesperson for the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency, which operates Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner. The new ticket prices, which are only available through June 29, aims to increase ridership during the week.

For anyone concerned about coronavirus in the closed cars, “We’ve upped the filtration in the cars’ air system,” Lopez said, and added sanitization stations and additional cleaning of the cars. “The train is probably safer than an airplane at this point,” he said, and as on all public transportation, masks are required.

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The Pacific Surfliner can hold up to 485 passengers, but daily ridership is about 45 percent of its pre-pandemic numbers, Lopez said, and service levels at 80 percent. The rail agency hoped to have all trains running at 100 percent of pre-pandemic scheduling by October, but hiring people back was a challenge for the agency, said Lopez, as it has been for many businesses during the pandemic.

Southbound trains leave Santa Barbara at 6:53 and 8:49 in the morning, and at 1:45, 2:50, and 7:04 later in the day, though not all trains stop at all stations. Check the Pacific Surfliner Timetable for full arrival, departure, and station information. Coach prices between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles Union Station start at $25.

The sightseer lounge, or dome car, is added to the train sets somewhat at random, Lopez said. “You never know which train it’ll be on.” All the trains carry a café car, however, which Lopez said was very popular with the late-afternoon crowd, who can enjoy a beer as they head back to town.

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