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Guest Jesper Christensen

Missing the thruway connection

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Guest Jesper Christensen

Hi all,


I hope you can help me with a worry of mine. I've already contacted Amtrak directly by mail, but have had no response from them.


I intend to make the trip from San Francisco, via Merced, to Mariposa (Yosemite). I plan on taking the 716 southbound San Joaquin, which will give me roughly 20 minutes to catch the thruway bus in Merced.


My concern is as follows. If the train arrives so late that the bus has already left, what kind of assistance can I expect from Amtrak, to get me to my destination?


In my own country, I know that the railway would arrange a taxi, but I worry about risking to strand in Merced.


Thanks in advance for your help.


Jesper Christensen, Denmark :)




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If it is an actual dedicated Amtrak Thruway run (not say a regular Greyhound that stops at the station), it will wait until the train arrives.


FYI - The Thruways in California (including your bus) REQUIRE a train reservation with the bus. They are dedicated runs ONLY for Amtrak passengers. Without waiting for the train, they would have -0- passengers aboard!

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I connect to the Coast Starlight at Chemult, Oregon via a small bus line that contracts with Amtrak. The bus line is not owned by Amtrak, but the terms of their contract dictate that they are specifically to meet the train.


In my case, I *can* buy a separate ticket directly from the bus line, for all or part of the route without an Amtrak ticket, but the bus will never leave the train station before the train arrives and discharges passengers (in fact, when arriving to board the train, if the train is going to be late, the bus driver is in contact with the conductor on the train and takes us to a place where we can buy food and drinks while waiting for the train).


I have taken several Amtrak connecting buses and they have all operated this way. If they are listed on the Amtrak schedule, it seems they must have a contract to do so. I hope someone with direct experience with the Merced stop can confirm that it operates the same way.

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If it is an actual dedicated Amtrak Thruway run (not say a regular Greyhound that stops at the station), it will wait until the train arrives.



Amtrak California doesn't run its own operations for the buses to Yosemite and points in between from Merced. That's the Yosemite Area Regional Transit System (YARTS). It specifically notes that it's YARTS in the San Joaquins schedule. I understand that ticketed Amtrak passengers have priority since it's a reservation, while others are consider FCFS. Not sure, but I would think that they would wait since a good number of their passengers are coming from Amtrak.




It's also possible to contact YARTS to ask about what they do in case of a late train.



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