Bus service between Salinas and Gilroy was restored Oct. 30.
Local officials gathered at the Gilroy Transit Center to celebrate the return of the bus line that was suspended three years ago due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Monterey-Salinas Transit Line 59 will make four weekday round trips from the Salinas Intermodal Transit Center to the Gilroy Transit Center at 7250 Monterey St., including a stop at the Prunedale Park and Ride in-between.
The ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 30 drew state, federal and local officials, including Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Gilroy Mayor Marie Blankley.
Officials said the restoration of service was made possible by a funding partnership between Monterey-Salinas Transit and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and funds received from the state’s allocation of federal monies.
Both Lofgren and Rivas said that while more work is needed to be done to improve public transit service, the addition of the bus line helps connect the region.
“In Hollister, if I want to get to San Jose, I have to get in my car,” Rivas said. “There’s no efficient way to move around. That’s why this is very exciting. This is something that ties the region together.”
He added that once bus riders reach the Gilroy Transit Center, they can then hop on Caltrain to reach San Francisco and beyond.
Riders from Monterey County will have the option to reach Gilroy, San Jose, the San Francisco Bay area, Hollister and beyond through connections on VTA, Caltrain and San Benito Express. Visitors from the north, meanwhile, can reach Salinas, the Monterey Peninsula, South Monterey County and Paso Robles by connecting to MST in Gilroy.
The restored bus line comes on the heels of additional Caltrain service in Gilroy, Blankley said, as a fourth train from South County to San Francisco on the weekdays was added at the end of September.
“As housing grows away from job centers and in affordable communities such as ours, public transit options are critical for residents,” she said.
The fare for the 59 bus is $2. For information, visit mst.org or call 1.888.MST.BUS1.