The Santa Monica Big Blue Bus showcased its new transit store to the community during a grand opening celebration Wednesday, December 5th.

“We’re so pleased with how the transit store turned out and especially with all the latest green technology that’s been built into it,” Big Blue Bus general manager Stephanie Negriff says. “The store has a lot to offer and we hope everyone will stop by and take a closer look.”

The transit store is at 223 Broadway, just west of the Third Street Promenade in the center of the “transit mall” in downtown Santa Monica, and is within two blocks of nearly every Big Blue Bus line.

Negriff emphasized that locating the store in the heart of two bustling shopping districts — the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place Mall — was one of the best ways to make transit accessible to a large number of people.

“The downtown location just seemed like a natural, and judging by the comments we’ve already received, we think the store’s going to be a big success,” said Negriff.

The store serves as the new home for the Big Blue Bus customer service team and offers trip planning, maps, schedules and a large variety of bus fares, including Day-Passes, Little Blue Cards, EZ transit passes, Student Punch Cards and Metro EZ Passes.

Big Blue Bus officials say an added benefit of moving the customer service staff to the new location is that it allows for extended service hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

In addition to offering transit passes and cards, the store features a custom-designed line of earth-friendly products, including organic T-shirts. A highlight of the store’s retail offerings is a collection of special limited edition vintage bus token jewelry specifically designed for the transit store and hand-tooled by Santa Monica artisans Susan Ryza and Sharon Keasling, according to Big Blue Bus.

To help celebrate the grand opening, a free Mini Blue pass is being offered for every purchase of $10 or more through December 31st.

Among the energy-efficient and sustainable elements used in the transit building are recycled rubber tire floors, recycled paper and plastic counters and operable louvered windows for natural ventilation.

Information, www.bigbluebus .com/shopblue/.