SMART district announces upcoming service changes for North Bay commuters

A new train service schedule for North Bay commuters will roll out on Jan. 1, the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit District announced.

The expanded schedule, approved by the SMART board on Wednesday, includes more weekday service, increased train frequency during peak commute hours and earlier train service on weekends.

The new schedule "is the product of months of planning and coordination with regional transit agencies to offer more efficient connections to the Larkspur ferry and bus service throughout Sonoma and Marin County," SMART said in an announcement. "The schedule also features convenient transit links for passengers wishing to take the train to and from the Sonoma County Airport."

SMART Board Chairman Gary Phillips said the changes will mean "a climate-friendly, affordable, and reliable transportation alternative for commuters as well as for people make leisure trips to the North Bay."

The district also announced that service to the new Larkspur and Novato Downtown stations would begin in mid-December.

The opening of the Larkspur station will link SMART to the Golden Gate Ferry. "In addition to connecting North Bay commuters to jobs in the Bay, the Larkspur station serves as a gateway for tourists wishing to visit Marin and Sonoma County," the district said, noting that it is partnering with the business community to promote recreation and tourism in the North Bay.

SMART board Director Eric Lucan said the Novato Downtown station "will be a game-changer for businesses and restaurants in the heart of Novato. Visitors will be able to take advantage of Marin County's remarkable outdoor recreation, art and culture, shopping and dining -- and leave the car at home."

Details about the service changes are available here.