SolTrans

SolTrans Celebrates 100 Years of History in Solano County

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Local artist Mark Eanes’ artwork on public display at SolTrans facility

 

The SolTrans public transit system, serving the southern Solano County communities of Vallejo, Benicia and beyond, is a transit agency that truly thinks globally but acts locally.

While SolTrans’ notable claim to fame may be its commitment to global sustainability through a fleet of hybrid buses and all-electric buses, one of its more recent contributions to the community has a very local focus—and is jam-packed with fascinating local history.

If you’ve recently popped into the front entrance of SolTrans’ Operation and Maintenance Facility in downtown Vallejo, you may have seen a 9-foot-long, jigsaw-shaped, multimedia mural that cleverly mixes photos and paintings of settings from the last hundred years of Vallejo and Benicia history.

The installation actually tells a very specific story.

It’s called “Wheel of Time,” and it’s the winner of SolTrans’ recent call to artists that solicited submissions of original artwork to embellish the entrance area. The winning submission was unveiled in late April at an art unveiling event at the facility, capping off a call-to-artists process that featured submissions from more than 20 local artists from within Solano County.

“Wheel of Time” was created by Mark Eanes, a painter, printmaker and photographer who combined all three of those facets into this one fascinating piece of art. Eanes describes the work as “a historical narrative of South Solano County’s mass transit program for over a century,” and combined a number of snapshots of buses, vehicles and cars in Solano County from the early 1900s to the modern day.

But “Wheel of Time” embellishes this photographic historical narrative with Eanes’ signature mixed-media abstractions of painting and printmaking to create a visually striking work of art that can be seen here.

The work was created with additional help and resources from the Vallejo Naval Historical Museum and the Benicia Historical Museum, and explores the history of connecting those two communities dating back to the early 20th century and the establishment of the Vallejo Bus Company and the Benicia-Vallejo Stage Line.

The call to artists focused on soliciting submissions specifically from Vallejo and Benicia artists, a sign of SolTrans’ investment and focus on the two primary municipalities the transit system serves.

Winning artist Mark Eanes has been living and painting in Benicia for more than 20 years, and his work has been shown nationally and internationally. An associate professor of art at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, Eanes also has a 25-foot mural on display at the new wing of Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo and is a former president and current board member of the nonprofit Arts Benicia.

Eanes’ “Wheel Of Time” isn’t the only work of locally produced art on display at the SolTrans Operation and Maintenance Facility. SolTrans also commissioned Vallejo-based painter Jeff Snell to create a painting in honor of SolTrans employee of the year in maintenance, Rigo Ortega. Snell’s painting depicts Ortega at work in the maintenance facility, a recognition of the behind-the-scenes labor and toil that goes into keeping SolTrans operating smoothly and a noteworthy display of SolTrans’ acknowledgements to its staff and its hometown community.

Head on down to the SolTrans Operation and Maintenance Facility on Broadway Street in Vallejo to see these remarkable works of art in person, and appreciate their homage to SolTrans’ hardworking employees and the hardworking communities that SolTrans serves.

And then hitch a ride around Vallejo, Benicia and all points of interest in southern Solano on the SolTrans, a modern-day transit system with a long and storied history that has Solano County transportation down to an art form.

Explore the unique communities of Vallejo and Benicia on these popular SolTrans routes, where SolTrans delivers safe, reliable and efficient transportation services that effectively link people, jobs and their communities.

 

Story Contributors: Joe Kukura and Gayle Peterson

Posted under Our Stories

New SolTrans App MyRide Combines High Tech With Low Fares

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Thanks to a new app that launched in June, SolTrans commuters in Solano County now have all the smartphone convenience of an Uber or Lyft—yet still only pay a fraction of the fare. Now, public transit riders in Vallejo, Benicia and beyond can get real-time locations and arrival times of every SolTrans bus in operation thanks to the MyRide app for iOS and Android. Just like the other rideshare apps, MyRide tells you exactly where and when your bus will arrive, so you know how long your wait time will be at any particular stop.

But the powerful MyRide app does more than just provide real-time bus locations and arrival/departure times. MyRide can also help you plan the route for your trip with SolTrans route maps right on your phone. It can also send you text alerts when your bus is close to arriving, and lists the closest bus stops complete with walking directions from wherever you are.

The MyRide app is free for both iOS and Android, and SolTrans still maintains its same low fares. With SolTrans and MyRide, you get the perfect mix of high tech and low cost.

If you want a sneak preview of how MyRide works, you can try MyRide on your computer to see exactly what it does. Using MyRide on your desktop requires no signup or registration, and is also very handy when trying to schedule your commute to or from work.

Simply click on the MyRide SolTrans link and you’ll see an interactive map of Solano County with every Soltrans route listed on the left-hand side. Clicking on any route will display that route’s map, the location of each bus in operation and each stop that bus makes. And when you click on the bus stop, you’ll see real-time displays of when that bus will arrive at that particular stop.

Feel free to test out the other MyRide features on your computer as well, like the Trip Planner that helps you set the exact course of your trip or the Set Alert feature that sends you an email alert before your bus’s arrival.

However, using the free MyRide app right on your smartphone does all this and more. Once you download MyRide, just click on “SolTrans” and MyRide displays every bus route on the SolTrans system. Click on a route and you get a route map showing the location of each bus and bus stop, just like on a desktop. Click on the bus and you see how many people are on board. Click on the stop and you get the exact time at which the bus will be arriving/departing from that stop.

The MyRide app also displays all of the SolTrans stops closest to you (along with the next arrival/departure time), a Trip Planner that plans your trip from door to door, and alerts that will send you handy departure-time push notifications with however much advance notice you prefer.

MyRide was developed by Avail Technologies. Avail Technologies has been around for more than 15 years and is dedicated to public transit solutions. And unlike most rideshare apps, MyRide actually offers a customer support telephone number in addition to email customer support.

And MyRide isn’t just for SolTrans. MyRide has integrations with Petaluma Transit, Napa VTA and Santa Rosa CityBus for when you’re getting around outside Solano County.

MyRide eliminates the need for transit maps, timetables and advance planning, because MyRide delivers all of this information right to your smartphone screen. Download the MyRide app today for a digital GPS transit tracking service that even the biggest Silicon Valley cities can’t offer. You won’t miss a bus again, and you sure won’t miss waiting around wondering when the next bus is coming.

With the MyRide app, you’ll never be late or lost again (well, not in Solano County, at least), and you’ll learn to better app-reciate the full SolTrans experience.

 

Story Contributors:  Joe Kukura and Gayle Peterson

Posted under Our Stories

The Bay Area’s Essential Guide to Commuting With SolTrans

Everything you need to know to begin your SolTrans journey today

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With commuting costs adding up and Bay Area traffic getting worse, smart commuters and travelers are always looking for ways to ease the hassle of getting around.

Solano County commuters have a particularly modern and convenient option in SolTrans, a shining fleet of clean-energy buses that has connected Benicia, Vallejo and beyond for more than five years. SolTrans trips are affordable, and the eco-friendly bus rides all accomodate Clipper card users while leaving the driving to someone else.

The name SolTrans is not a reference to solar power—though SolTrans employs a number of green-energy hybrid buses and is adding a number of pure-electric buses this summer. Instead, the “Sol” stands for Solano, the northeast Bay Area county where SolTrans connects the cities of Vallejo, Benicia and Fairfield.

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SolTrans also offers connections to the downtown San Francisco Ferry Building and to the greater Bay Area by connecting to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). What’s more, SolTrans connects to other regional transit services like Oakland’s AC Transit, Marin and Sonoma counties’ Golden Gate Transit, and Napa’s Vine—providing hassle-free, affordable access to the whole San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

The SolTrans Advantage

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There are numerous advantages of riding SolTrans instead of driving. We’ll start with the obvious benefit of cost. As gas prices in the Bay Area continue to fluctuate, and with the hassles of finding and paying for parking climbing, SolTrans lets you travel the East Bay at a fraction of the total fee of driving.

In the increasingly traffic-congested Bay Area, SolTrans offers time management and convenience that traveling by automobile cannot afford. SolTrans riders can read, catch up on emails and get things done on the bus, with WiFi service on all SolTrans buses launching soon and more energy-efficient and fully electric buses on the way.

SolTrans is also an exceptionally safe method of transportation, winning national recognition for an exceptionally low incidence of accidents or injury. SolTrans buses are also bike-friendly, with bicycle storage on each bus.

 

Clipper-Card Accessible

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Anyone who uses any form of Bay Area transit is familiar with the Clipper card, the all-in-one public transit smart card used by many Bay Area transit agencies. SolTrans is one of them, even offering a fare credit when transferring from SolTrans to the Vallejo-San Francisco Bay Ferry.

Summer Slice Promo for the Kids

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SolTrans sizzles for kids and youth this summer, with a Summer Slice promotion that slices fares for ages 6 to 18. Through Aug. 31, kids get a Youth Local Day Pass for just $1. Yup, that’s all-day riding in one zone for just a dollar! Even better, a Youth Local 31-Day Pass is just $15, giving kids unlimited SolTrans transit in one zone for less than 50 cents a day.

Dial-A-Ride

If a SolTrans stop is not conveniently located for you, you can even schedule a Dial-A-Ride bus service (within the city of Benicia) for direct pickup at home and drop-off at your destination.

Much like a ride-sharing service (except much more affordable), Dial-A-Ride is the ideal option for ADA riders or anyone pressed for time. And there is no application process necessary; just phone one to three days in advance of your trip. ADA Paratransit-certified residents can also use the Solano County Intercity Taxi Scrip Program for same-day, curb-to-curb transportation on SolTrans offered at a reduced cost.

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Real-time bus locations and estimates on SolTrans arrival times are available right on your smartphone via the MyRide app. And for drive-to-ride connections, 24-hour parking is available by the day or by the month at the Curtola Park & Ride Hub in Vallejo, allowing you to conveniently park your car and then enjoy the savings of SolTrans for the remainder of your trip.  Additionally, as a bonus, Curtola currently allows you to charge your parked electric cars for free.

As the Bay Area gets ever more crowded and challenging to navigate, SolTrans provides an easier, greener and more affordable way to get around conveniently. With connections to most regional transit services, the greater Bay Area is just a SolTrans ride away.

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SolTrans delivers safe, reliable and efficient transportation services that effectively link people, jobs and our communities. For more information, visit soltransride.com.

 

Story Contributors: Joe Kukura and Gayle Peterson

Posted under Our Stories

All Aboard: En Route with SolTrans

Explore the unique communities of Vallejo and Benicia on these popular Soltrans routes

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Halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento, some off-the-beaten path destinations await in the cities of Vallejo and Benicia. And all of these places are easy to get to—even without driving—thanks to the clean and comfortable public transit service of SolTrans.

World-class public transportation isn’t limited to the biggest cities in the Bay Area, and SolTrans will shuttle you all over Solano County in comfort for just a few dollars. And there are some notable and outstanding destinations found right along the SolTrans routes that every northern Californian should visit at least once.

SolTrans has easy connections to BART, the San Francisco Bay Ferry, AC Transit and a number of other transit services of the like. You can connect to SolTrans from anywhere on the BART line, stopping at Walnut Creek or Pleasant Hill stations and catching SolTrans’ Route 78, or the Route 80 from the El Cerrito Del Norte BART.

From downtown San Francisco, the scenic San Francisco Bay Ferry arrives at the Vallejo Ferry Terminal where 11 SolTrans routes are available. And once you’re onboard the SolTrans system, these are just a few of your top attractions and destinations.

 

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Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
You see the towering roller coasters from miles away, making Six Flags Discovery Kingdom one of northern California’s most iconic amusement and animal-themed parks. You can get to the wild animals (and wild rides) with a calm ride on SolTrans Route 85 that connects downtown Vallejo with Fairfield. This is a great diversion for kids in the summer months thanks to SolTrans’ Summer Slice discount promotion.

 

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Mare Island
Mare Island is like an open-air U.S. history museum, once the first-ever naval shipyard on the west coast and now home to historical parks, a golf course, the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve and the sprawling mountain views of the San Pablo Bay Trail. You can get to Mare Island from one of the many SolTrans routes that stop at the Vallejo Transit Center followed by a quick walk across the Causeway Bridge.

 

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Empress Theater
Vallejo’s historic Empress Theater is a classic venue playing host to live blues, jazz, soul, comedy and more. And you’re just a couple of blocks away with any of the SolTrans routes that stop at the Vallejo Transit Center.

 

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Downtown Vallejo
Downtown Vallejo is packed with shopping, restaurant and activities, many walkable for the Vallejo Transit Center. Some high points and their corresponding SolTrans routes include the delectable Momo’s Cafe (Route 4), the unique, retro Children’s Amusement Park (Route 4 and Route 7) and the Vallejo Naval Historical Museum (Route 4 and Route 6).

 

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Downtown Benicia
Downtown Benicia is a waterfront city that briefly served as the capital of California. You’ll find that very capital building still intact at the fascinating Benicia Capitol State Historic Park (Route 78), a close walk from the excellent waterfront restaurant Sailor Jack’s (Route 78), and the hiking, cycling and birding of Benicia State Recreation Area (Route 20).

 

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Benicia Clock Tower
A historical marvel, the Benicia Clock Tower was built in 1856 and now functions an event space and landmark historical museum. The first stone fortress built in the western U.S., the tower remains Benicia’s largest structure and is a hearty two mile walk accessible from two SolTrans’ Benicia routes: Route 17 and Route 20.

 

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Blue Rock Springs
You’ll find bike trails, picnic tables, live events and a 36-hole golf course at Blue Rocks Springs. Hang out with the ducks and peacocks by the lake, or else take a hike with magnificent views at Blue Rock Springs, accessible on SolTrans’ Route 20.

SolTrans is a great, affordable and hassle-free way to travel and explore northern California and many outstanding Vallejo and Benicia destinations. SolTrans buses offer bike racks on the front of each bus to accommodate cyclists, and there’s a handy MyRide app to detail bus arrival times.

Get to know these signature stops on the SolTrans routes and become part of the Solano County’s blossoming commuting community.

 

For more information, visit www.soltransride.com. “We’re your Heart & Sol for Transportation.”

 

Contributors to this story:  Joe Kukura and Gayle Peterson

 

 

 

Posted under Our Stories