Local News

Jan 7, 2010 9:31 PM by Stacy Daniel

Ground broken for new Santa Maria transit center

All systems go. The city of Santa Maria officially broke ground today, at the site of the future Santa Maria Intermodal Transit Center. The center will be located on city-owned land at the southeast corner of East Boone and South Miller streets.

With the scoop of a shovel, construction on the $9 million Santa Maria Intermodal Transit Center officially begins. The dirt lot on the corner of East Boone and South Miller streets will soon be a state of the art transportation hub for thousands of mass transit riders in Northern Santa Barbara County .

Passenger Ashley Barnett says, "That's going to be great. That's going to be really cool. I mean you'll just go to that one place and get whichever bus you want."

With thousands of passengers boarding the buses every day, transit officials say the system has simply outgrown its current spot along Cook Street. Transit Services Manager, Austin O'Dell says, "There's a problem at the current location over at the Town Center Mall, where we just simply don't have enough room. Right now, the buses stack in the street. They block driveways. People get off in the middle of the street and it poses an issue."

Riders are on board with the idea of a new station, which instead of crowded outdoor seats, will have an indoor area, restrooms and a snack bar. Bus passenger Kasondra Vega says, "That's great. It's going to provide more things for us to do while we're waiting for the bus." Barnett adds, "That would be so much better. Waiting on the street for the benches, there's nothing around. It would be so much better. You'd have something to drink, something to eat while you're waiting for the bus."

Ridership is already high in Northern Santa Barbara County. When the new station opens, officials say, we may really see things take off. The new transit center will also have a park and ride area, which is also expected to attract a new set of riders. Construction is expected to be complete next fall.

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