Multimodal car free day trippers to Santa Cruz use public transportation all the way

This group of young men traveled from Fresno, California via train, bus and another bus to spend the day biking around Santa Cruz.

Multi Modal Car Free Day Trippers

How did these guys travel from the Central Valley to the Central Coast?

First, they rode the Amtrak San Joaquin from Fresno to Stockton. This is about a two hour trip.

Next, they rode the Amtrak Thruway Bus from Stockton to San Jose for another two hours.

Finally, they hopped on the Highway 17 bus from San Jose to Santa Cruz, where they spent a day biking along the coast and into the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Google Transit directions knows about the Amtrak train routes, but doesn’t seem to have the Thruway bus schedules because it suggests riding the San Joaquin all the way to Oakland, from where you can catch either BART to Fremont and then VTA 181 to San Jose, or the Capital Corridor all the way to San Jose. Amtrak all the way is probably the easier option unless you happen to know where to catch BART and VTA and Cap Corridor at various locations.

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This trip is a little more ambitious than the usual public transportation trips to Santa Cruz. Props to these four guys for undertaking this car free adventure.


  1. The timing for the connection might not have worked, but the ACE train runs from Stockton to San Jose Diridon. I don’t know how much faster the ACE train is than the bus, but it would certainly be more comfortable.

    More scenic too. The Altamont Pass and Niles Canyon are strikingly beautiful as is the ghost town of Drawbridge the bottom of the Bay. It’s always a highlight for me.

  2. The _last_ ACE train of the day departs Stockton at 7:05 AM, and the first San Joaquin doesn’t pull in until 9:01 AM. They also use different stations in Stockton (probably not an issue since they had bikes anyway).

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