Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Amtrak California quietly gets better

Apparently, this happened with the release of the latest Amtrak California Timetable on December 5th, but I didn't notice until I was down at the Riverside Metrolink over the weekend. Amtrak has started operating a Thruway bus connection between the Coachella Valley and Fullerton (connecting to the Surfliner for Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego), with stops in Indio, Palm Springs, and Riverside. This is a daily service, so here's a new option for car-free travel outside of Riverside even on weekends. This bus is pick-up-only westbound to Fullerton, where it is drop-off-only, and pick-up-only at Fullerton eastbound, after which it is drop-off-only.

You can get tickets for this bus by making a prior reservation via Amtrak's web site or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL, and either getting those tickets in the mail or picking them up at the Metrolink station. None of the Coachella Valley stations have ticketing available, but passengers may board the bus without prior reservation on a space-available basis, so long as they carry a photo ID. (The ID will be held by the driver, and will be returned when you pay for your passage in Fullerton. A similar system is used on the San Joaquin buses in Bakersfield.)

Here's a quick overview of the schedule, in which I also include connections to points south (which are valid, but not included in the official schedule.) Service is also available to La Quinta, Palm Desert, and Cabazon (Morongo Casino). You can find more information from Amtrak California's web site. Remember that train connections are required to take these buses, so they are only valid for trips to/from Fullerton (ie. no bus rides from Riverside to points east, or from points east to Riverside).


Bus #IndioPalm Springs AirportRiversideFullertonConnecting Train #Dest.
496908:0509:0010:2511:21769LA 12:10

572SD 13:55
4985--15:1016:2517:25785LA 18:55

784SD 19:59

Weekdays Eastbound:

Connecting Train #Dest.Bus #FullertonRiversidePalm Springs AirportIndio
768LA 09:40

769SD 09:27496811:5012:4013:50--
784LA 17:10

583SD 14:55498418:2019:0520:1521:15

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