[caption id="attachment_53193" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sonoma County Airport Express will begin service at a new Santa Rosa stop in May."][/caption]

SANTA ROSA -- Sonoma County Airport Express will begin operation of a new Santa Rosa stop on May 1, five months after discontinuing service in the city.

The new location, at the Caltrans Park & Ride lot adjacent to the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial building, will replace the former stop at the Days Inn on Santa Rosa Avenue that General Operations Manager Anthony Geraldi said was simply too close to another stop at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park.

“We thought it was overkill to have two locations so close to each other,” he said.

The new location provides easy access to Highway 101 for busses ferrying passengers to the San Francisco and Oakland airports, he said.

The Santa Rosa-based company spent approximately $6,000 to improve the site, which is on Caltrans property, he said. An unused bus pad will provide enough room for three of the company’s 20 buses to park back-to-back at the site, though Mr. Geraldi said that there would likely be only two at the location simultaneously.

The location will not provide overnight parking, which is available at the company’s three other locations in Sonoma County.

The new location will join four currently in operation: The Charles M. Schulz--Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park, the Petaluma Fairgrounds and an Oakland Airport-only service stop at the San Rafael Transit Center.

Service at the new stop will be suspended temporarily during the three-week run of the Sonoma County Fair, July 25 through August 12.

In business since 1980, the Sonoma County Airport Express has 51 employees and ferries over 200,000 passengers each year. One-way adult fares for both Oakland and San Francisco-to-Sonoma County service cost $34.

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the new stop, located on Maple Avenue across from the Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, on Monday, April 30, at 4 p.m. Local elected officials who assisted with the effort are expected to attend.