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San Diego Transit Forums Begin Today

The Metropolitan Transit System is launching a series of public forums today to get input on expanding bus and trolley services.

MTS Chief Executive Officer Paul Jablonski said the agency's operating budget is expected to increase by $6 million in the next fiscal year - beginning July 1 - thanks to increasing tax and fare revenues, along with reinstatement of a state assistance program.

"Our goal is to add the services that are most needed by our riders, but to do it cautiously," Jablonski said. "We do not want to add something that we might have to take away if revenues drop again."

Among the proposals are longer hours of operations, more frequent service and changes to that will improve connectivity between routes.

The first forums will be at 3 this afternoon at the Fashion Valley Transit Center behind the Fashion Valley Mall, and the Iris Transit Center, at 3120 Iris Ave. in Otay Mesa. The forums will continue throughout the county until Saturday. A schedule is posted at sdmts.com.

"Our service improvements are designed to alleviate crowding on our buses and to give our riders more options," Jablonski said. "But before we implement these changes, we want to make sure that our riders have a chance to comment on our proposal and to ensure that we are considering options that are important to our riders."

If approved, the changes would be implemented in September and next January.

Ridership on buses and trolleys is approaching the record of 91 million trips in FY 2008, he said.

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