SMART train; Smart commuter

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SMART train; Smart commuter

The public explored the new SMART trains at the Nov. 18 open house. The train offers commuters eco friendly transportation.

The public explored the new SMART trains at the Nov. 18 open house. The train offers commuters eco friendly transportation.

The public explored the new SMART trains at the Nov. 18 open house. The train offers commuters eco friendly transportation.

The public explored the new SMART trains at the Nov. 18 open house. The train offers commuters eco friendly transportation.

Arthur Gonzalez-Martin, Senior Staff Photographer

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With the Nov. 18 open house in downtown Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square, the public finally got a close-up look at the much-anticipated SMART train, which runs from the Sonoma County airport to San Rafael.

The SMART train will begin service sometime in spring 2017. The original start date was to be December 2016 but was pushed back due to issues with the engine design, said public relations representative Jeanne Mariani-Belding.

The two closest stations to the main SRJC’s main campus are the Santa Rosa Downtown station at Railroad Square and the Santa Rosa North station near the corner of Coffee Lane and Guerneville Road, near Coddingtown Mall. The north station is 1.4 miles from campus, about a 25 minute walk, and involves crossing under Highway 101 at College Ave. The downtown station is 1.9 miles from campus, approximately a 30 minute walk.

The open house attracted curious locals, future commuters and several families who brought their young children to explore the train cars.

The SMART train will be four cars long, and features a restroom at the front of the train. The cars are new and luxurious, with plenty of green elements and a sleek stainless steel exterior.

It remains to be seen whether the new SMART train will be a realistic option for SRJC students and staff. Fares are set based on zones of travel and start at $3.50 for travel within a single zone. The price goes up $2.00 for each additional zone a traveler passes through, topping out at $23 for a pass that allows unlimited travel in a single day.

If you’re a student or veteran, you can get a SMART eco-pass for up to half off fares. That would mean just $11.50 for a one-day unlimited travel pass.

Miriam Silva, a SRJC student, said she would probably use the train for fun excursions, “but not for work or school.”

SRJC student Alex Reckas said the train would be very useful for the drive from his home in San Rafael to classes in Santa Rosa, which can take an hour or more in heavy traffic. “I’d probably take that,” he said.

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