Sonoma-Marin 'SMART' trains resume Sunday service

Sunday train serivce started running in Sonoma and Marin counties for the first time in more than two years.

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, or SMART, is now running again on Sundays. Passengers in the North Bay took advantage.

"It sounds convenient," said Dana Johnson of Cloverdale. "We haven't taken the train, since what, this {COVID-19 pandemic] first started."

SMART scaled back its services in April 2020 due to threat of COVID-19.

"There's a lot of demand for Sunday service," said Matt Stevens, spokesperson for SMART. "We hear about it in customer service, so this is really due to popular demand."

Ridership is also on the rise. According to an agency spokesperson, the number of people riding SMART trains increased by about 48% from January to April. SMART reported more than 35,000 passengers in March, the highest number of riders since the beginning of the pandemic.

"Businesses are bringing employees back, so we're seeing our ridership increase," said Stevens. "But we're also seeing increase in recreation riders."

Some riders used the train to get to the Larkspur ferry. Raymond Pesce took that to Oracle Park to see the San Francisco Giants play.

"We haven't been to a Giants game this year and the train being here is part of the reason we're going," he said.

Before the pandemic, SMART saw about 700,000 passengers a year. Now, board members are budgeting for nearly 600,000 for next year. They also plan to add about 10 more trips to its weekday services.