All Aboard!

June 22, 2018
Getting Here is Half the Fun
Many of us have found alternate ways to break down the commute from a one car/one person drive and thanks to the UCSB Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) there are even some nice perks thrown in to incentivize us to take the plunge. If you are a UCSB employee living in Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo or even Thousand Oaks, you may ride the Clean Air Express buses as well as the vanpools and of course, carpools. Or maybe up until now, none of those options has appealed to you.
But here’s something new to encourage you to step out of your vehicle, to give it a little break and in the process even give yourself a little break: the Pacific Surfliner has adjusted their schedule to accommodate commuters living to the south of Santa Barbara – as close as Carpinteria and as far away as Simi Valley – and bring them to Santa Barbara and Goleta daily to their place of work.
The train ride can be a relaxing alternative to the daily stress of driving every day. The seating is plentiful and comfy, there’s Wi-Fi and a view of the ocean that can’t be beat – and there’s no traffic! At just over an hour ride from Oxnard, the train stops at the Goleta station where you can ride a vanpool straight to UCSB, or to save on the extra $35 monthly vanpool fare, you can take the MTD at no additional cost. That’s right, your monthly pass for the train doubles as a bus pass!
Another way to get from the train station to campus is on your bike. It’s a fairly flat 3-mile bike ride from the Goleta Station on La Patera Lane to campus and the train takes a limited number of bikes (6) on board by advance reservation. Folding bikes – yes, there is such a thing – fold up to the size of a carry-on piece of luggage and do not require an advance reservation. And if the idea of a peaceful bike ride to and from the station sounds like a nice way to get a little cardio into your day, SBCAG (Santa Barbara County Association of Governments) and SBBike (Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition), two organizations that promote ride share opportunities to the County, are in discussions to get bike lockers at the Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria stations. For a discounted rental fee, you will soon be able to store your bike right there at the station where it is ready to take you to campus.    
Here’s another great tip: let’s say you’re reading this article and you’re thinking to yourself, “Hmmm. Comfy seats that lean back… beautiful ocean view… I could catch up on a great book or Netflix or my meditation. But what if I try it and I hate it?” They have that covered for you too. Traffic Solutions, a division of SBCAG, offers a 10-ride free trial for would-be commuters who may want to see how this switch would actually fit into their lives. Although the program is on a brief hiatus, we can expect to see this program reinstated later this month (June).
The fare from Goleta and anywhere as far south as Simi Valley is $150 per month or $50 for a 10-ride pass. But here’s something new and interesting for all you folks in Carpinteria: the unlimited monthly pass from Carp is $80 per month, with 10 ride passes selling for $30.   
In case you aren’t aware of it, the UCSB Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) offers some great perks to help you transition to ride sharing. Qualified TAP members (UCSB Faculty members and staff employed at least 45% time) who transport to campus other than one person/one vehicle, may enroll in TAP and have the amount of the train fare as well as the vanpool to and from the station (should you opt for it) deducted pre-tax from their paycheck. And that’s not all! There is also access to 57 hours of complimentary parking every quarter, which rolls-over for up to a max of 218 hours. Reasons to use the free hours? Maybe you have a doctor or dentist appointment scheduled. Maybe it’s conference week at your kid’s school. Or perhaps you woke up a little too late. It totals to 6 full days of parking (including lunches and breaks) per quarter. There’s also a free emergency ride home program should you find yourself “stranded” on campus and need to get home immediately.  
If you’re interested in taking the plunge to become a bonafide train commuter, the best place to start is by visiting the TAP website where you can view all alternative commuting options in addition to providing links and information about the commuter train
By Laura Hoffman