SANTA ROSA (CBS SF/BCN) — Sonoma County announced this week it’s starting a weekend shuttle bus service this Saturday that transports visitors from Santa Rosa to two Russian River beaches.

The Sonoma County Regional Parks River Shuttle will take passengers from Top Schopflin Fields to Steelhead Beach Regional Park and to Sunset Beach River Park in Forestville. The service will run weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with departures every 30 minutes in new 39-seat ADA-accessible, low-emission buses operated by C3 Transportation.

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County officials said the service is part of an effort to reduce traffic impacts and improve access to the beaches, which often fill up by mid-morning.

Tickets are $5 round trip and county officials recommend buying them in advance at

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Officials hope the service cuts down on the practice of many visitors who one car at each park, in preparation for floating down river from Steelhead Beach to Sunset Beach. A free inflation station for rafts and inner tubes is available at Steelhead Beach, so visitors can carry deflated items on the bus.

“This gives us an alternative to turning visitors away when parking lots fill,” said Bert Whitaker, Sonoma County Regional Parks director.

For more information on the Regional Parks River Shuttle and route maps, visit the county parks website.

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