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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Santa Barbara MTD expands service to commuting Carpinteria students

Angel Corzo
AG Gonzalez steps up to the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District line 19X bus as it makes its stop heading east on Cliff Drive on Sept. 7 in Santa Barbara, Calif. The 19X is the MTD’s newest edition to their lines going from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara.

On Thursday, Aug. 31, City College launched Santa Barbara’s Metropolitan Transit District route 19X, a new mode of transportation for students living in Carpinteria.

“The line 19X provides peak weekday service to Carpinteria, Santa Barbara’s east side, and Santa Barbara City College,” said MTD planning and marketing manager Hillary Blackerby. “It provides express service on a different route than the line 20 which connects Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito, and Santa Barbara.”

Superintendent President Erika Endrijonas shared her excitement for the new line, describing how due to the bus having little to no stops, it is very convenient for students. Endrijonas and other dignitaries were invited to be on the first bus coming from Carpinteria to City College.

“It was easy to get on, easy to pay and I think we were here in maybe 10 minutes,” Endrijonas said.

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Jonathan Abboud, president of the Board of Trustees at City College, explained how the line will enhance the lives of the students.

“SBCC being a significant destination in Santa Barbara, it offers a faster and more direct route for over 1,000 students and employees in Carpinteria and the Eastside,” Abboud said.

Amanda Jacobs, interim executive director of public affairs and communications, added her thoughts on how the new line is a resource for both students and staff, offering a safe way to get to campus from Carpinteria. 

It’s not just about getting to school or work; it’s about giving them time back in their day, allowing for more productivity, whether they choose to study or relax on the bus,” Jacobs said. “For many students who can’t afford cars, this is an invaluable service.”

Blackerby spoke on behalf of the MTD about how the department has been aware of the transportation issues for students. With parking at City College becoming scarce, traveling from Carpinteria to City College required either two buses or a long walk. 

AG Gonzalez, a City College student from Carpinteria, shared their experience riding the bus last semester before the new line was introduced.

“It was always tiring, so I’m looking forward to taking the new 19X line to see if it’s more feasible for me to get to school,” Gonzalezs said.

Gonzalezs explained how it would take around two hours for them to get to school, having to take two buses from their house.

“It was annoying having to wake up significantly earlier and devote a significant time of my morning to taking the bus,” Gonzalez said.

Blackerby explained how COVID-19 also has impacted transit in several ways—cuts to service, difficulty of finding new bus operators, reduction in City College enrollment, reduced numbers of people taking the bus as well as a delay in the start of planning the line 19X.

“As students have come back to campus in larger numbers, and the rest of the community has gotten back to something closer to normal, our ridership has rebounded significantly and continues to grow,” Blackerby said. “This service is intended to provide good transit connections and to help alleviate congestion and improve the flow of traffic during the Highway 101 construction process.”

Blackerby stated the MTD hopes that the line will help connect people to opportunities via transit and satisfies the needs of those living in these areas, monitoring the ridership and demand closely.

“While it has been operating for less than two weeks, initial ridership numbers are very encouraging,” Blackerby said.

Overall, the plans for the new line have offered limited service for students living outside Santa Barbara, and the MTD looks forward to making new plans with City College for more transportation support. 

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