Staff Report

Despite declines across California and the nation, ridership on Santa Ynez Valley Transit buses so far this year has increased by 12 percent from the same period in 2018, officials announced.

SYVT’s fixed-route ridership began increasing in October 2018 and has continued to surpass last year’s ridership figures.

Public transportation ridership has declined across California and the country over the last decade as a result of increased car ownership, officials said. Understanding this trend, SYVT has focused on promoting services to residents for destination purposes as a way to reverse ridership decline.

This involves suggesting the bus for specific trips where a car is not needed, such as to the library, school or a medical appointment. SYVT has also induced new “choice riders” (residents who rarely or never ride transit) to use the bus as “a second car.”

“If we can encourage residents to replace one driving trip with one transit trip every two weeks, we are taking a positive step in advancing the benefits of public transportation,” said Matt van der Linden, Solvang Public Works Director and City Engineer. “Advancing the benefits of public transportation means less traffic on our roads, less pollution in our air, and a more connected community.”

SYVT enhanced its fixed-route bus service in the summer of 2018 to provide more service to residents and guests traveling to and around the Santa Ynez Valley. The pink-and-teal buses also offer $20 monthly summer youth passes to riders from 6 to 20 years old for use in May, June, July and August.

“SYVT is committed to making public transportation convenient and reliable to even our youngest residents,” said van der Linden. “Creating public transportation champions today will continue to benefit not only SYVT, but our beautiful community for decades to come.”

SYVT is funded through a partnership between Buellton, Solvang and Santa Barbara County. For information, visit or call 805-688-5452.