Thanks to two new bus routes* introduced by Monterey Salinas Transit last December, it is now possible to travel down the coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles on public transit.
I’ve tried to make this itinerary before, but had to cheat by using an intercity bus carrier (I started this exercise to use only local public carriers). My more recent itinerary via Yosemite is only possible in the summer and takes 68 hours. But this new route (devised after a tip from California Streets commenter David D.) is available on weekdays with no reservations, takes only 30 hours and 31 minutes, and costs only $45.25 (not including overnight accommodations in Santa Maria). It involves 14 transfers using seven local public transit agencies.
You are crossing into the realm of extreme transit geekery if you take this route, so please contact me if you do decide to try it so we can hang out. All the transfers are direct with the exception of Santa Mara. All info is based on currently-published schedules and fares.
*Before MST introduced the 82 and the 83 lines, there was no transit service between King City and San Miguel necessitating the use of a commercial intercity carrier.
Monday – Depart San Francisco Embarcadero Station
5:57 a.m. – Arrive at 4th and King Station. Layover: 14 minutes.
7:24 a.m. – Arrive at San Jose Diridon Station. Layover: 31 minutes.
9:22 a.m. - Arrive Prunedale Park & Ride. Layover: 40 minutes.
10:35 a.m. - Arrive Salinas Transit Center. Layover: 10 minutes.
12:18 p.m. - Arrive King City-Mee Memorial Hospital. Layover: 3 hours 57 minutes.
4:40 p.m. – Arrive outside of Fort Hunter Liggett gate. Layover: 35 minutes.
6:12 p.m. – Arrive Paso Robles Transit Center. Layover: 8 minutes.
7:27 p.m. – Arrive San Luis Obispo Transit Center. Layover: 1 hour 6 minutes.
9:43 p.m. - Arrive Santa Maria Town Mall Transit Center. Layover: 8 hours 7 minutes. Find overnight accomodations in Santa Maria.
Tuesday – Depart Santa Maria Park & Ride at Hagerman Softball Complex
7:09 a.m. – Arrive Anacapa at Anapamu in Santa Barbara. Layover: 9 minutes.
8:00 a.m. – Arrive Pacific View Mall. Layover: 20 minutes.
9:24 a.m. – Arrive Thousand Oaks Transit Center. Layover: 6 minutes.
10:45 a.m. – Arrive Warner Center. Layover: 14 minutes.
11:42 a.m. – Arrive North Hollywood Station. Layover 7 minutes.
12:19 p.m. – Arrive Los Angeles Union Station.