SMART Celebrates Record-Breaking Ridership, Credits Accessibility, Affordability Initiatives

Officials of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit — also known as SMART — are attributing a record-breaking ridership month to improved accessibility and affordability.

SMART reported more than 80,000 passengers in the month of April alone, marking the highest ridership in one month in the agency’s history.

Two recent changes suggest a reason for the spike. In the beginning of April, SMART began offering free fares for anyone under 18 and seniors 65 and older. It also reduced its regular fares by 40 percent and introduced the on-demand SMART Connect shuttle, which links passengers directly to Sonoma County’s Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport.

“This unprecedented ridership demonstrates the immense value SMART brings to our communities,” said Eddy Cumins SMART general manager. “SMART offers a greener and more convenient way to travel and is connecting communities and helping to enhance economic development in the region.”

SMART riders eliminated 17.6 million car-driven miles in the past year, according to the agency.

The 45-mile rail system has 12 stations near the airport and in the cities and towns of Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Petaluma, Novato, San Rafael and Larkspur. SMART also manages a bicycle and pedestrian pathway that’s integrated into the Great Redwood Trail, providing first and last-mile connections to the train.