SANTA BARBARA , Calif. - A new express service is rolling along to and from Santa Barbara City College to make a faster connection between the community and the campus.
The 19X line has stops in Carpinteria, the Santa Barbara Eastside and the campus.
The first bus is rolling from Carpinteria at 7 a.m. There are three morning departures with the other two at 8 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.
"It's perfect now I don't have to take two busses to get to SBCC so it is so much easier to take me right to where I need to go," said first year student Ashley Gonzalez.
The shuttles start returning at 12:40 p.m. with the last shuttle at 5:30 p.m.
On the first ride, guests included Santa Barbara and Carpinteria councilmembers including Mayor Al Clark, County Supervisor Das Williams, new SBCC President Erika Endrijonas, SBCC Board of Trustees President Jonathan Abboud, SBCAG Executive Director Marjie Kirn, and SBMTD Board Members and General Manager Jerry Estrada.
Speaking on campus when the bus arrived in the 8 a.m. hour, Estrada said it was a service the community had asked for, but it took time to craft a route and add drivers.
"We are essentially providing from the city of Carpinteria once again direct weekday peak service, " said MTD General Manager Jerry Estrada.
Abboud said the number of vehicle trips saved would be a help to relieve congestion.
"That's a thousand cars we can be taking off the road. That's a thousand people who could be having a more enjoyable experience getting to work and school every day. That's significant, " he said.
Endrijonas said the bus service breaks down a barrier for some people who have not been able to get to the college because of transportation issues. She said, "the last bus that leaves right now leaves at (about) 5 p.m. and you can get in quite a few classes. I think it is going to be a game changer for so many student here. "
It will be efficient for complex schedules. Gonzalez said, "yea I'll be using it in the morning but some of my classes are more later in the day but it is a still good way to get here without being late for my classes."
Supervisor Das Williams said it is an environmental plus to add this service and reduce vehicles, emissions and environmental impacts. He said the choice was traffic "combat" or " are we going to live in a liveable community where we plan things out where we have the right mix of jobs transit, housing and open space. "
Students using the bus can also study or simply relax before classes.