SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- Sacramento Regional Transit announced a new express bus route began Monday, connecting the heart of downtown Sacramento to the Sacramento International Airport.
It's no secret Sacramento is growing and for travelers arriving at SMF, that growth is apparent from the minute the plane touches down.
"For instance, we need to find a way to have more gates because our travel experience continues to go up for people, measured in the tens of thousands now," SacRT Board Director Phil Serna.
Last year, SMF saw the highest passenger numbers in its history, but getting to and from the airport, is another story.
"As Sacramento continues to become a world-class city, the frequent and direct public transportation to our own airport is long overdue," said SacRT GM and CEO Henry Li.
The new express bus will operate seven days a week, with buses arriving at 7th Street and Capitol Avenue every 20 to 30 minutes, starting just before 3:30 a.m. every morning and running past midnight every night.
For the month of January, the service is completely free. Starting Feb. 1 the bus will cost $2.50 for a single ride.
"This is going to mean a big improvement in quality of life," said California State Transportation Agency Secretary David Kim.
Not just an improvement for travelers coming to and from the airport, but for the employees who work there too.
"Whether you're an employee of the airport, you're a rider, you're going to pick somebody up, it's one less car causing congestion on the I-5," said Sacramento Councilmember Steve Hansen.
Cutting down on traffic and carbon emissions in the region is the driving force behind the new airport express line. Transit officials also plan to eventually replace the current buses with all-electric vehicles.
"Because that is where we need to go as a society from the standpoint of public health and the environment," said Kim.
"So I encourage all of you to ride the bus," said Hansen.