An all new commuter bus route, linking Redding with downtown Sacramento is about a year and a half away, according to Dan Little Executive Director of Shasta Regional Transportation Agency. Funded by grants, officials envision four daily round trips aboard fast, comfortable, zero-emission, Wi-Fi enabled buses.
A similar proposal linking Butte County with Sacramento was rejected.
Chico City Councilman Karl Ory, the city’s point person on mass transit, said demand exists. He said roughly 1,600 people a day travel between Butte County and Sacramento or its airport. The focus now is finding ways to hop on Shasta’s effort.
“If we can get transit, both bus and train to work more efficiently, we’ll be able to take people off the roads and be able to allow people to go greater distances for employment opportunities,” Ory said.
While Amtrak’s Coast Starlight connects Redding, Chico and Sacramento, the reliably late and middle of the night runs are worthless for commuting or getting to the airport.
Little said the express bus would serve Redding, Red Bluff, Williams and Sacramento International Airport via Interstate-5 along with a final stop near the Capitol. Chico passengers would use a new special feeder line and transfer at Orland.
Little said the run between Redding and the airport would take less than three hours. Passage of Proposition 6 would likely jeopardize the service.
Daytime train service is also planned, but further out. Major rail upgrades are underway in the Sacramento region, with Amtrak’s San Joaquins train being extended to Natomas. Long range plans call for extending that to Marysville and eventually Oroville. The project is listed in the state’s new 2040 rail plan, but no money has been allocated.