Chamber Introduces Santa Barbara Visitor Trolley Pilot Program

By the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce 

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to announce the launch of an exciting pilot program, the “Santa Barbara Visitor Trolley,” aimed at addressing the transportation needs and concerns of businesses in the downtown Santa Barbara area.

In collaboration with community partners, including Visit Santa Barbara, the City of Santa Barbara, and Downtown Santa Barbara, this convenient shuttle service aims to enhance the experience of visitors exploring downtown Santa Barbara and the Funk Zone.

In June, the Chamber held a special meeting of downtown businesses to gather insights into their goals for the future of State Street. The meeting served as a platform for exchanging ideas, addressing prevailing challenges, and fostering productive discussions. A significant concern that could be addressed quickly by participants was the need for a shuttle service to facilitate seamless movement of visitors between the waterfront, Funk Zone, hotels, and downtown areas.

Recognizing the significance of this challenge, the Chamber took action, partnering with a private local transportation company to address this issue. Within an impressively short span of one month, the Santa Barbara Visitor Trolley was launched, effectively addressing the identified need and enhancing the overall visitor experience.

The Visitor Trolley runs Friday through Monday. The route begins at 11 am with first pick up at the iconic Hotel Californian at 26 State Street before heading into downtown Santa Barbara. The departure time starting at Hotel Californian is scheduled on the hour and half hour, ensuring a regular and reliable service for visitors. If the Visitor Trolley arrives a few minutes early, it will patiently wait until the next scheduled departure time to accommodate passengers.

The last departure from Hotel Californian is at 4:30 pm, so guests are encouraged to plan their visits accordingly. Please refer to the Route Map for detailed information on the Visitor Trolley’s stops and route. 

Tickets for the Santa Barbara Visitor Trolley can be purchased for $1 at the State Street Visitor Center – 120 State Street, Suite F – where both cash and card payments are accepted. Alternatively, riders can contribute $1 in the collection box available on the Visitor Trolley, but please note that only cash is accepted on the Visitor Trolley, and no change will be provided.

Once departing from Hotel Californian, the Visitor Trolley proceeds north on State Street under the freeway, then over to Chapala Street. The first stop will be near Paseo Nuevo on Chapala Street between Ortega and Canon Perdido Streets.  

The next stop on the route is on the 200 block of East Anapamu Street, right outside the picturesque Sunken Gardens at the historic Santa Barbara Courthouse, the most requested visitor destination!

Continuing along its route, the Visitor Trolley proceeds south on Anacapa Street, with the next stop on the 600 block of Anacapa Street, between Ortega and Cota Streets. Visitors can conveniently access this location at the bus stop near the Ortega parking lot (City Lot 10).

To complete the loop, the Visitor Trolley travels south on Garden Street, east on Cabrillo Blvd, and then turns north onto State Street, resuming its route from Hotel Californian.

Operating from 11 am to 5 pm, Friday through Monday, now through Labor Day, the Santa Barbara Visitor Trolley provides a convenient, ADA compatible, mode of transportation for visitors. Visitors will be able to easily identify the bright red, open-air Visitor Trolley, perfect for sightseeing while on the route.  This service seeks to enhance accessibility and create a positive experience for tourists exploring the downtown area.

“The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce and its respected partners are delighted to launch this pilot program, aiming to facilitate a seamless and enjoyable experience for visitors in downtown Santa Barbara” said Kristen Miller, President & CEO of the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce. “The Santa Barbara Visitor Trolley promises to be a valuable addition to the city’s transportation services, showcasing our commitment to enhancing the visitor experience, and aiding downtown businesses by facilitating a convenient way for visitors to explore shopping, dining, cultural and entertainment offerings.”

For information about tickets, routes, and schedules, please visit for the most up-to-date information.

Additional inquires can be directed to:

State Street Visitor Center
120 State Street Ste. F
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Open Daily from 11 AM to 5 PM
Phone Number: (805) 869-2632


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  1. Chamber of Commerce take note: many of the central city pedestrian zones in European cities have public transportation: trolleys (real ones on tracks) and buses traversing the pedestrian zones. They ring their bells to warm pedestrians who are oblivious to their approach. They go slowly so that there is negligible danger. It really would be better to have the route on State St itself, and stops on demand (as well as timed key stops).

  2. Just call it the “Hotel Californian Shuttle.” The shuttle skirts hotels near Haley & Cota, the new Marriott, Orange Tree Inn, Palihouse, Fess Parker and all beachfront properties. The shuttle is supposed to help explore the Funk Zone, but they stop at a hotel ON STATE STREET with traffic funneling uphill and a visually unpleasant “dead end” street then requiring passengers to cross the train tracks (not ADA friendly) to get to the Funk Zone.

  3. There are not enough stops on this route. Reader Always Running makes a good point. Furthermore, how is a person supposed to use this shuttle to get from the Transit Center to the Amtrak station? There are no stops close to the bus station or the train station, and the ride down to Mason Street is extremely long and roundabout. Then to get to Amtrak requires walking uphill from Mason Street. This shuttle may be better than nothing for tourists but does not serve the local residents very well.

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