Speaking of cars (see accompanying editorial), there are entirely too many of them traveling Highway 101 between Santa Barbara and Ventura every morning and evening. Estimates have put the number of daily commuters as high as 20,000, and the hours they spend stuck in traffic are a significant drain on the region’s economy and quality of life.
The frustrating thing for those commuters is the sight of an empty rail line just a few yards from the freeway. Amtrak runs every day between Ventura and Santa Barbara, but never at a time or price that’s convenient for commuting.
Now, it looks like an alphabet soup of federal, state and local agencies is finally doing something about this situation. At a meeting in Santa Barbara on Oct. 6, county transportation planners said they were talking to Amtrak about timing the trains so that commuters could use them.
This can’t happen fast enough for those 20,000 commuters. For their sake, we hope it won’t take a coup to make the trains run on time.