Since 2014, the region has been discussing options for expanding intercity transportation to airports and passenger rail facilities in Sacramento and the Bay Area. The concept was initiated to complement interregional travel options and to provide better connections to state, national, and international destinations.
In July 2015, SRTA was successful in obtaining a $30,000 mini-grant through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5311(f) Intercity Bus Program to investigate market demand and operational feasibility of the service. This effort was completed during the winter of 2016/17. Express bus service from Redding to downtown Sacramento along the I-5 corridor is recommended in the study, with feeder routes from the rural counties in the North State. The final report provides an inventory of existing services along the corridor; a market demand assessment; a cursory service design; and a list of next steps required for implementation. Early data and findings from the study were used in a Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) grant application for $19.5 million, submitted in April 2016 and not awarded funding. This study, called the Shasta Intercity Transportation to Sacramento and the Bay Area Study, was accepted by the board in December 2016.
In April 2017, SRTA was successful in obtaining $223,203 through the Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant Program to provide details for an intercity bus network featuring backbone service on I-5 between Redding and Sacramento with feeder service from surrounding rural counties. In addition to strengthening relationships with state, rail, and regional partners, the business plan will quantify operating and capital costs needed to prepare a second Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) grant application, submitted in January 2018 and awarded partial funding. The business plan was approved by the board in June 2018.
In April 2018, SRTA was awarded over $8.6 million in capital funding through the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) for a new all electric intercity bus service between Redding and Sacramento, including a valley feeder. The service will offer four inter-connected round trips per day and is described in the North State Intercity Bus System Business Plan. The bus service is designed as a green, affordable transportation option with fares structured so that the highest fare is $20 and the lowest, along the valley feeder, is $5. The service schedule coordinates with local transit system connections as well as passenger rail and other intercity bus connections in Sacramento.