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'Carmageddon': Try the train to Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo

July 13, 2011|Mary Forgione | Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Santa Barbara coastline: You could be here by train instead of trapped in traffic this weekend.
Santa Barbara coastline: You could be here by train instead of trapped in… (Bill Zeldis )

Can't face "Carmageddon"? Consider taking a train trip out of town to Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo. If you act quickly, you may score discounts for the weekend too.

The Carmageddon wildcard, of course, is that no one knows exactly what will happen to traffic Saturday when the 405 Freeway shuts northbound along a 10-mile section between Interstate 10 and the 101 Freeway, and southbound between the 101 and Getty Center Drive.

But it could be a good time to skip the potential crush and indulge in an impromptu, car-free summer getaway.

Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo reward Amtrak travelers with 20% off their traiin tickets, plus discounts at restaurants, hotels and activities. You have to register online and book three days in advance to get the discounts. So for a Friday departure, you would need to book Wednesday (today).

 To test-book an escape from Carmageddon, I found a round-trip Amtrak ticket to Santa Barbara on Saturday morning and returning midday Monday for $46.40 -- saving $11.60 off the usual fare.

If you don't make it out of town this weekend, you can still get the discounts, which are good through the end of the year.

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