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Marsha McLean:Santa Clarita transit is your ticket to better transportation

Posted: January 17, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 17, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

The demand for public transportation continues to increase as Americans enjoy the freedoms provided by commuter buses and railways.

I know this first-hand because I enjoy using our buses and Metrolink to attend meetings in downtown Los Angeles. Soon, we will all be enjoying a direct Metrolink train to the Bob Hope Burbank Airport.

According to the American Public Transportation Association, “public transportation helps everyone — commuters, families, students, seniors, persons with disabilities — to live the American dream.”

Santa Clarita Transit provides affordable, reliable, comfortable and convenient transportation options to residents and is connecting people to employment centers, friends, and attractions each and every day, and local ridership has never been stronger.

Santa Clarita Transit helped 3.6 million customers get moving throughout the last year, whether it was across town, to downtown Los Angeles, to work or to a movie.

And ridership among seniors continues to increase, with the city seeing a 17 percent increase in senior ridership in 2013.

Just a few months ago, the city opened the new Park and Ride at the McBean Regional Transit Center. Today, all local and commuter express routes pass through the Park and Ride, providing a major launch point into and out of Santa Clarita.

The lot offers more than 280 parking spaces and secure bike stalls in a centralized location, which means carpooling or catching the bus has never been easier.

For thousands of Santa Clarita residents, public transportation is the only way to travel. But if you are new to transit, the following information and tips will help to quickly get you on the move.

Schedules, transfers

Just this week Santa Clarita Transit released its new local and commuter schedules, offering eight convenient routes to just about anywhere in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Santa Clarita Transit also offers seven routes serving the greater Los Angeles area, including North Hollywood, Warner Center, West Los Angeles and downtown Los Angeles.

Our commuter buses feature free Wi-Fi, allowing riders to better use travel time by catching up on work, email, or with family on Facebook and other social media platforms.

The new transit schedules are available online at SantaClaritaTransit.com, and printed copies are available on the buses, at City Hall and at other city facilities.

Simplified Payment

Riding Santa Clarita Transit is easier than ever with the use of the Transit Access Pass, or TAP, card. Cash is no longer king when riding.

The durable plastic TAP card allows riders to buy transit fares in advance, much like loading money onto a pre-paid phone or coffee card.

TAP then becomes a riders’ “transfer fare wallet” — allowing users to pay fares to the exact penny with just a tap of the card. The pass even recognizes transfers.

TAP is also accepted on all Metro bus and rail lines as well as several municipal transit systems throughout Los Angeles County.

TAP cards can be purchased at all Santa Clarita Public Library branches, the Canyon Country and Newhall Community Centers, City Hall, the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center, the city’s Transit Maintenance Facility, Saugus Drugs & Hallmark on Bouquet Canyon Road, Mail America on Soledad Canyon Road, and at Vons on Lyons Avenue.

Finding the Bus

The city recently released a series of You Tube videos that highlight how easy it can be to use public transportation, including a “Guide to Using a TAP Card,” “How to Read a Bus Schedule” and “How to Use a Quick Reference or QR code.”

These three videos are available at SantaClaritaTransit.com on the main home page under the “How to Videos” link.

An increasing number of Santa Clarita Transit users are mapping their course and finding their bus with real-time tracking programs. Santa Clarita Transit offers several ways to identify and track city buses, including text message, quick response (QR) codes, and online at SantaClaritaTransit.com.

These services are so popular that they receive more than 90,000 uses per month from transit users who are tracking their specific bus and route.

Transit users are also staying up to date on news, promotions, delays, schedule changes and other system updates via the Santa Clarita Transit twitter feed. Riders can follow Santa Clarita Transit at @SCTBus and receive timely updates on their phones any time of day.

Whether you are a current Santa Clarita Transit user or new to the service, we welcome your feedback about what you like or what we can do to improve or make your ride more enjoyable.

You can share your comments with us via email, Facebook, or even on Twitter @SCTBus. We’ll see you on the road!

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