Humboldt County bus riders can now connect directly to Mendocino County. The Redwood Coast Express can take travelers from Eureka to Ukiah for only $2.
The express service launched Tuesday after being in the works for more than five years.
“We recently got a large state grant for hydrogen buses, and a new bus center, and a part of that was committing to creating this new route that would fill the last gap across the 101 in the state that was filled by mass transit,” Humboldt Transit Authority transit planner Jerome Qiraizi said.
One of the reasons was the need to connect people to Ukiah for medical and dental care.
“We actually expect a lot of our riders to be those that are seeking medical care either in Ukiah, in Santa Rosa, or the Bay Area to where other means of options getting down there are too expensive,” Qiraizi said.
Here’s how it works: The Redwood Coast Express runs Monday through Friday and leaves Eureka at 10 a.m. There are stops in Fortuna, Garberville, Leggett, Laytonville, and Willits before arriving in Ukiah at 1:30 p.m..
The return trip starts at 2 p.m. and arrives in Eureka at 5:30 p.m. So if you have a medical appointment, it will likely include an overnight stay.
Next month, they hope to connect Mendocino Transit to Santa Rosa.
“Right now, their route 65, Mendocino route 65 which goes down to Santa Rosa, doesn’t meet up with us when we get there at 1:30,” Qiraizi said. “But in the next couple of weeks, we expect them to have those changes in place and then passengers will be able to transfer seamlessly.”
So, will this lead to an express connection to the Bay Area?
“Yeah, you absolutely will. Passengers will definitely have connections all the way to the bay area, so they’ll be able to get on Mendocino Transit to the SMART (Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit) train,” Qiraizi said. And the SMART train will take you all the way down to marin county and then you’ll be able to get on the system to get into the Bay Area or go east. So you’ll be able to do a full day trip 100 percent on public transit.”
Right now, the Redwood Coast Express costs $2 for a one-way trip. That introductory price will stick around for six months.