A North County Transit District Coaster train heading north from Torrey Pines State Beach. Courtesy NCTD
A North County Transit District Coaster train heading north from Torrey Pines State Beach. Courtesy NCTD

A pair of programs launched Tuesday in which Southern California Amtrak passengers can get free transfers to a dozen local bus and shuttle services in San Diego and five other counties, or purchase discounted bus and light rail tickets.

The programs are operated by the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency known as LOSSAN.

The free transit connections are between 23 daily Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains and 12 local transit providers along a 351-mile route in the counties of San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. The local providers include the North County Transit District.

“The Pacific Surfliner transit transfer program makes it easier for our passengers to utilize public transportation to get to and from their final destinations, encouraging increased ridership on both passenger rail and local transit services,” said LOSSAN Chairman David Golonski.

The program is funded by a $1.7 million cap and trade grant received from the California State Transportation Agency.

“The cost and inconvenience of having to purchase a separate fare to use connecting bus services are deterrents to choosing public transit,” said agency Secretary Brian Kelly.

“People want more convenient travel options,” Kelly said. “This program makes using transit an easier alternative, resulting in fewer cars on the road and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

Joining the NCTD in the free transfer program are the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority, city of San Luis Obispo Transit, South County Transit in San Luis Obispo County, Guadalupe Flyer, Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District, Ventura County Transportation Commission Intercity Bus, Gold Coast Transit in Ventura County, Glendale Beeline, Anaheim Resort Transportation, Orange County Transportation Authority and iShuttle of Irvine.

The discount program that started today allows Pacific Surfliner passengers to purchase discounted one-day transit passes for the Metropolitan Transit System, which operates buses and trolleys in San Diego, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs buses and the Metrolink light rail system.

The tickets can be purchased aboard Amtrak’s cafe car.

–City News Service