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Downtown Waterfront Shuttle to Double in Price

One of Santa Barbara’s great values is about to double in price. The little electric shuttles, with the black and blue sailboat symbol which are often adorned by decorative seasonal tops, are a familiar site on State Street; and up until now, they were only a quarter to ride! Due to the loss of Redevelopment Agency revenue, the Santa Barbara City council will vote today to double that fare.

According to today’s Agenda, “City and MTD staffs concur in recommending that the City Council and MTD Board increase the Downtown/Waterfront Shuttle fare from the current $0.25 fare for all riders, to a proposed $.50 fare with a $.25 half-fare for persons aged 62 or  older  and persons with disabilities.  MTD’s staff estimates that this fare increase would generate approximately $75,000 in additional fare revenue annually.”

Downtown-Waterfront Electric Shuttle (805) 963-3366
The Downtown-Waterfront Shuttles provide frequent service along State Street and the Waterfront area. Shuttle buses and bus stops are marked with blue and black sailboat symbols and the shuttles travel on State Street from Sola Street to Stearns Wharf and along Cabrillo Boulevard. The shuttle fare is currently 25 cents one-way and children under 5 ride free. State Street service includes a stop every block and runs daily every 10 minutes between 10:15am and 6pm.

18 Responses to “Downtown Waterfront Shuttle to Double in Price”

  1. el_smurfo

    Amazing how the RDA money had seeped into nearly every aspect of our city budget. I guess when you put a pig to the trough, they don’t just eat until they are full.

    These trolleys appear mostly empty when I see them…perhaps they should have reduced the route to 15 or 20 minutes to save the money and keep the fare low. Alternately, the downtown organization that pays for free parking could pay for the fares of these busses which bring customers to their stores.

    • SBSavvy

      el_smurfo, you are INCORRECT. We are starting to see that this City, especially downtown, was built on RDA funds and the loss of them is going to be bad for the little luxuries we enjoy like quarter shuttle rides. The Downtown Organization does NOT pay for free parking, the businesses do and with the threat of the parking structures being sold by order of the State, free 75 minute parking will go away too. Please know your facts if you’re going to post.

      • el_smurfo

        This city, especially downtown was destroyed by RDA funds. From the monstrosity of Paseo Nuevo diverting foot traffic off State to the plethora of “affordable” subsidized housing, RDA in general has been bad for SB. You may also notice I said “the downtown organization”, not “Downtown Organization” as I did not know the name of the Parking Committee that creates the parking policies. Semantics, but I guess it’s something to grab onto when you have no real argument.

        • smufie-boy

          Downtwn was dying before Paseo. And people who are not as gifted as you cannot afford your home on the hill and need affordable to start off.

          Our downtown is vivbrant and booming, after years of dying.

          You seem to have an issue with change. Key us bring a model T to your home, tun off your internet and you relish is your heydays.

          For the rest of us we like our vibrant downtown, We like homes we can afford.

          So sad smufie boy that you are so angry and selfish.

          • el_smurfo

            Just to get this straight…I work 50-60 hours a week to pay taxes to subsidize your downtown home? How is that anything but selfish on your part?

          • Sniffed

            I want Montecito to be affordable. I have a right to live there and no one should get in my way. They should make it easy for me to buy a home there, because this is what I want. Who wants to live in the cheap slums of Santa Barbara when Montecito is so much nicer.

          • Four on the Floor

            Downtown was not dying then. But it was having to compete with La Cumbre Mall which had just opened with several large flagship stores. Downtown is dying now because of the vagrants who can’t bother La Cumbre Mall.

            Actually downtown is dying because of the local bleeding hearts here who are killing it with their misguided handouts turning our lovely downtown into Grifter Central.

            We survived La Cumbre Mall. We survived Paseo Nuevo. But we can’t survive the swarms of vagrants and drifters who have been made to feel welcome to take all of this away from us.

  2. Cost:benefit

    I think it would have been better to take it all the way up to a dollar. More people have dollars than quarters and it would make a lighter load to carry.

    • Alt-transiter

      They should reduce the numbers of stops because it is annoying to use the shuttle when it barely goes faster than a pedestrian can walk. It is not that shoppers can’t walk a few blocks to get to the nearest pick-up location.

      Keep in mind when we “took” RDA money, we had to do a lot of things in return, the same way with HUD money.

      Both sources came with huge strings that demanded all sorts of benefits in return that took away local control and stuffed our city full of subsidized housing (aka Democrat voters). Thank goodness those days are now over, but it left a terrible scar on our city for those decades of “free” money.

      That story has never been fully explained nor did they own up to this strings attached demands in the General Plan Update. They acted like we locals could actually determine what was to happen to our city and refused to disclose RDA and HUD had already most of our planning decisions for us.

      Next to get rid of is the HUD money boondoggles, not dissimilar to RDA.

  3. Anonymous

    How much would it save the city to cut the car allowance for the council members? Or for city staff members who get to take cars home at night?

    • Walk the walk

      How many city staffers walk or use bikes to get from 630 Garden Street to City Hall when they are called to do their business before the city council?

  4. Anonymous

    I’ve always been amused by the quarter cost. Even newspapers have jumped in the last decade while the shuttle is priced for the 1970s. I like the idea of a buck! Avoid the same problem with stamps jumping a few pennies every other year while the post office is going broke! Charge whatever it costs to run

  5. Mr Hulot

    The shuttles were originally free to help combat the opening of Paseo Nuevo concentrating retail shopping in the new mall. Then the shuttles got taken over by the vagrants for joy rides. The quarter charge got imposed which instantly cut into the bums booze, cigs and drug allowances and they stopped joy riding them. They are valuable and should have always been treated as such. Nothing good is free and it if is, like this case it gets quickly exploited. There is a lesson here.

  6. Anonymous

    Were not RDA funds supposed to be used to fight “blight”?

  7. Barbara

    I like alt-transiter’s idea of fewer stops. Better yet, make State St. a walking street (with a bike lane) for 6 blocks, change the routes of the shuttles from the beach to Sola, charge a buck and eliminate one of them.

  8. anon.

    Or how about keeping the quarter fare for one passenger, but selling passes for a family for a weekend or a day? Most tourists would be willing to buy an unlimited shuttle travel pass for, for instance, $5/family/weekend and would probably use it and the MTD would get more revenue. Or a daily pass? Has the MTD looked into this?

    It would be good to see some actual statistics as to how much the shuttle is used, weekdays/weekends, times of use, numbers of passengers. Whenever I’ve seen it it’s usually mostly empty.

  9. Ryansbca

    I don’t ride it often, and sometimes it’s a little annoying when I’m biking up State St. but it was an absolute joy and relief to my mother who was visiting me from Utah a few weeks ago. Yeah, it was only a quarter to ride, but she spent several hundred dollars on State St.while she was visiting that afternoon.

    • Ryansbca

      And I said I haven’t ridden it often, but each time I’ve had to stand so an older person could sit. I don’t think they go empty.