News

Editorial: SMART’s aggregate data is not helpful in determining true ridership numbers

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit administration’s long-awaited release of its train ridership data raises more questions about the agency’s leadership than it does about the operation of the fledgling commuter and weekend train service. SMART had refused to break down its ridership figures and instead presented aggregate numbers. While larger and more impressive, without a…

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Close to Home: What SMART’s data does and doesn’t say

By Mike Arnold After more than two years of operating trains and rejecting requests for ridership data, SMART has finally released daily ridership data from June 29, 2017 through Nov. 30, 2019. The data reveals much about SMART’s ridership and why it withheld this information from the public. Ridership is tiny. On the average weekday,…

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Marin Voice: Only way to hold SMART accountable is to vote against tax in March

Now that SMART’s tax extension measure is on the March ballot, the hype from rail proponents and General Manager Farhad Mansourian is in full gear. The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit project was an uneconomic dream in 2008 and still is. Long before 2008, SMART staff had been told by its own consultants that a quarter-cent…

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Larkspur Station Opens With Small Ridership Numbers

 SMART Train has unveiled their $55 million Larkspur extension after a two year wait. Wilson Walker went to find out how many commuters are actually using it.

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SMART needs to release ridership numbers

When talking about ridership, the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District focuses on impressive aggregate numbers: Its trains have carried more than 1.6 million passengers since the service started a little more than a year ago. Getting details about that number has been more challenging, as SMART, a public agency supported by tax dollars, has refused…

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SMART withholds daily and weekly ridership records as train seats go unfilled

As part of its effort to rally voter support for an early sales-tax extension that would stabilize its finances, SMART has regularly touted figures showing overall ridership, which last month surpassed 1.6 million passengers. The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit agency has routinely submitted monthly figures to a national transportation database since it started service in…

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Dick Spotswood: SMART train management pushing to live up to its promises

This Saturday, the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District inaugurates service into its new Larkspur Station adjacent to the ferry terminal. A 1 p.m. celebration marks completion of the long-awaited two-mile extension from San Rafael’s Bettini Transit Terminal. With one exception, Saturday marks fulfillment of SMART’s promise to Marin voters. SMART touted a rail line connecting…

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Editorial: SMART train part of problem and the solution in San Rafael traffic mess

It isn’t really much of a surprise that the traffic jams in central San Rafael have gotten worse, especially since the construction of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit tracks and its recent trial runs between the downtown station and Larkspur Landing. Motorists are frustrated. There’s more of them on the road, thanks to the strong…

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SMART passengers offer opinions of rail service as key ballot tax measure looms

Seats were at a premium aboard the SMART train over the holiday weekend, with the commuter rail agency offering free rides Thanksgiving through Sunday — a way to familiarize more people with the service ahead of a key vote next spring that will determine its future in the North Bay. The day after the holiday,…

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San Rafael drivers grapple with SMART complications

The crawl through downtown San Rafael traffic has become even more mind-numbing at times, some drivers say, with the arrival of the SMART train’s extension to Larkspur. The railroad began testing its 2.2-mile extension between downtown San Rafael and Larkspur during daytime hours on Nov. 17, running trains without passengers along that southernmost stretch of…

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