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The current bus lines follow the paths above from the city of Santa Barbara and through Carpinteria, but they miss Bates Beach by about 1/2 mile.

County MTA

Currently, MTA Bus Lines 20 and 21 carry its passengers between the cities of Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. The buses run hourly during the week and every 90 minutes on weekends.

In Carpinteria, the bus makes about a dozen stops that include several of the popular hotels in town. These lines go as far south as Bailard Road, near the Veneco Oil plant and a half mile short of Bates Road, before it turns across the freeway and back tracks north toward Santa Barbara.

Seaside Shuttle

Meanwhile, Carpinteria operates its own Seaside Shuttle, line 36, which makes over two dozen stops throughout the town, its major motels, and the State Beach. The Seaside Shuttle goes south-east only as far as Casitas Pass Road, a mile away from Bailard Road and 1.5 miles from Bates Road.

Impact of the New Coastal Trail

Meanwhile, the Coastal Trail project is moving forward to extend the existing hiking and bike trail from Carpinteria to the county boundary at Bates Beach. People are going to want the option of public transportation to convey them to the start to the trail, or to use to return to Carpinteria after a day of hiking and enjoying the beach.

Extending these bus lines that one extra mile can help attract tourists to both Bates Beach and encourage higher numbers of people to use the Coastal Trail. Fares from these additional riders will easily cover the cost of the extra fuel and vehicle maintenance of the buses, which should be minimal.

Our Proposal


The route for lines 20/21 from Santa Barbara goes through Carpinteria to Bailard Road, 1/2 mile from Bates Beach, before turning north and then back toward Santa Barbara, We ask it be extended that extra 1/2 mile so that beachgoers and hikers (for the new Coastal Trail) can reach Bates Beach.

All the bus has to do is get back onto the freeway after its Bailard Road stop, exit at Bates, then turn left and stop on the right side of the road just before the south on-ramp. Then the bus can make an immediate left back onto the freeway and exit at Bailard to turn right (north) and continue on its original path. The entire process should add only about five minutes to the existing schedule. The new riders will easily cover the half-pint of additional gas required by the bus.


Currently the farthest south/east the Carpinteria Seaside Shuttle travels is to Casitas Pass Road. By extending it along Carpinteria Avenue to the south to its terminus at Rincon Road, the shuttle will access the Carpinteria Bluffs Preserve and all those additional businesses (KFE, Veneco, and any new development along the bluffs south of town along Carpinteria Avenue not connected to the bus system at present. If the shuttle then gets onto the freeway for one-quarter mile it will reach Bates Road and the Coastal Trail trailhead.

Because the shuttle has a smaller turning radius than the MTA buses, it can drive up into the Bates parking lot and make a U-turn at the end of the parking lot to return (something the Santa Barbara busses cannot do.) The shuttle then becomes a critical link to bring hikers, bikers, and beachgoers there from the center of town at more convenient times than the periodic MTA lines 20/21.

Impact on Bates Beach Parking and Carpinteria's Local Businesses

The Bates parking lot holds 150 cars, yet even on the most populated summer days, the lot remains more than half empty. Most who do show up are their either to surf or to walk their dogs for amn hour or so, not to enjoy the sand and surf.

The fact that Bates will be the new terminus for the Coastal Trail gives us the opportunity to bring people, who prefer a less crowded alternative to Carpinteria State Beach, to a different beach. Merchants on Linden Avenue who count on tourist traffic for their business, will not lose anything because the shuttle will take people from Bates right to their doorstep. We calculate our bus proposal can increase the Bates Beach population by about 500-800 people per day, which translates to approximately $500,000 in additional revenue to the local hotels, restaurants, and the City of Carpinteria.