The New SMART Way to Get Around Marin County
Posted in Blogging Marin on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 by MCVB Staff
By Joe Kukura
Northern California’s famed “sunny side of the Golden Gate Bridge” got a brand-new, super-high-tech, clean-energy train called the Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit. Better known by its nickname the SMART train, this passenger rail service is a smooth, clean ride through Marin County’s greatest attractions.
While visiting wineries and vineyards, the SMART train is the thinking wine lover’s way to get around safely, reliably and on schedule. The on-board accommodations are exquisite, with plush seats around full tables and a snack bar serving wine and craft beer.
The SMART train covers about 45 miles between Marin County and points to the north, with highlight stops including the Marin County Civic Center, Novato, Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa. Stops will be timed to connect with the region’s buses and shuttles to make it as easy as possible to dash about Marin County.
The convenience is what brings you onto the SMART train, but the Marin County scenery is something you’ll never forget. Even if you’ve been to Marin County before, you’ll see a panorama of new sights along the celebrated Marin County countryside. The SMART train passes mountains, vineyards and oak forests that aren’t visible from Marin County’s roads or highways. In the wildlife-rich wetlands between Petaluma and Novato, you’ll be treated to the sight of herons, egrets, jackrabbits, ducks and more.
Fans of biking and hiking in Marin County are thrilled to find that a bike and pedestrian pathway runs alongside the SMART train tracks. “Rails with trails” is a popular new concept in passenger train travel, but the SMART train includes more trail mileage than any other active rail line in the U.S. And yes, bikes are allowed on the SMART train.
Full fares begin at $3.50 for trips within one zone of Marin County. (There are four zones within Marin County.) Fares to each other zone are just $2 more. Additional discount fares will apply for seniors, youths, and passengers with disabilities.
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, your Clipper card works on the SMART train. Passengers can also get unlimited rides all month long with a 31-day pass, and employers, colleges, and institutions can buy bulk eco-passes that offer unlimited, flat-rate rides for groups of 50 or more.
The SMART train is the realization of a dream Marin County residents have been building for more than 10 years. Marin County visitors this summer can enjoy the benefits of all the work Marin County has put into this sleek, beautiful train that lets you relax and leave the driving to someone else.
So plan your next California getaway to Marin County, where the great outdoors, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife are now all easily tied together by the high-tech, low-cost SMART train. This new passenger rail makes Marin County a great place to let off some steam, and Marin County attractions are sure to get you sidetracked.