Marin grand jury calls for bolstering SMART transit options

A rider exits the SMART train at the Larkspur platform, steps onto a driverless shuttle waiting nearby and gets dropped off at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal for the commute across San Francisco Bay.

This is one vision the Marin County Civil Grand Jury has for how the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Authority can enhance its ability to connect riders to its Marin stations.

In its latest report, the grand jury heaped praise on SMART and other local transportation agencies’ efforts so far to provide riders ways to get to and from their stations since trains began running in August 2017.

“The expectation is that new options for first and last mile connections will be implemented as the system matures,” the report states.

Along with looking at the possibility of using driverless shuttles, the grand jury is recommending local transit agencies such as Marin Transit and the Transportation Authority of Marin expand the on-demand Marin Connect shuttle service; for SMART to complete its feasibility study by July on creating a east-west track to Napa County; and to conduct surveys and research on how best to get SMART riders to and from their stations.

“I think all of the recommendations have a lot of merit and are very good,” said Farhad Mansourian, SMART’s general manager, adding that some of the recommendations are already under discussion.

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