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

The Press Democrat | November 30, 2019

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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, Hilary Lyon, 42, of Eureka and her parents decided to make an afternoon of the complimentary trip south for lunch in Petaluma to introduce her young daughter to the train. After boarding at the north Santa Rosa station, Sienna, 5, flapped her woven pink mittens with excitement as she stared out the window of the fast-moving rail car before bounding across the aisle to pose for a photo with her grandparents to commemorate her first ride.

Lyon grew up in Santa Rosa before she and her husband moved to Mountain View, and then north to Humboldt County for his job with the U.S. Coast Guard. But she used to commute to Novato each day for work and sees the value to Sonoma- Marin Area Rail Transit’s service to get back and forth between the two counties to avoid the worsening traffic congestion on Highway 101.

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View Original Publication: The Press Democrat