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SMART to resume Sunday service beginning May 1

Sonoma-Marin Rail Transit’s Sunday service will resume beginning May 1, the agency announced this week.

Service was suspended in April 2020 during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. With conditions easing, SMART board members announced during an April 6 meeting that Sunday service is back on track.

“This shows that SMART is listening to its riding public and is continuing to address our riders’ needs as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chairman David Rabbitt said in a statement.

Sunday service includes six trips heading north and six going south.

Overall ridership has gone up in recent weeks, according to SMART staff.

The increase is attributed to a combination of easing COVID-19 conditions allowing more travel, and rising gas prices forcing travelers to find other modes of transportation.

Three months ago, at the height of the omicron surge, Sonoma County averaged more than 250 new daily cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents. Rates are now closer to 6 to 7 new cases per 100,000, according to county data.

As for gas prices, Sonoma County drivers paid an average of $5.82 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel as of Friday, according to AAA.

High fuel prices have been putting pressure on motorists for about a month, but they appear to be on a slight downturn.

California’s average price per gallon as of Friday was $5.79 after dropping from $5.88 seven days earlier.

Santa Rosa gas stations charged an average of $5.82 per gallon as of Friday. That was down from $5.86 the previous week.

Experts have attributed rising prices to the impact on worldwide crude oil supply and demand as the war between Russia and Ukraine continues. Russia is one of the world’s leading providers of oil.

Press Democrat reporter Martin Espinoza contributed to this story.

You can reach Staff Writer Colin Atagi at colin.atagi@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @colin_atagi.

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