Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Students, tourists, sports fans and people who live and work downtown could benefit from an extension of trolley service next month. About 90 million people a year use San Diego's Metropolitan Transit System to get around town.
Christian Baejkelund is a fan of public transit when it works.
"With gas prices going up, it's one way to save money," he said just before boarding the Green line trolley in Old Town.
MTS is in the middle of a major project to increase and upgrade its operating system. It includes new station platforms to accommodate wheelchairs and new electronic signs to alert passengers to when a trolley is coming.
But Rob Schupp with the transit agency says the biggest change starting September 2 will be for riders heading downtown.
"The Green line is going to be extended from Old Town, it's going to come through Santa Fe depot, and go along the bayside and end at 12th and Imperial Avenue downtown," Schupp said.
He said there will be no additional tracks, but the Green line extension will save passengers time, whether they're coming from East County, Old Town, the Gaslamp district or heading to Qualcomm stadium.
Schupp said the expansion is being paid for by state funds and a rebound in tax revenue.
"So when you get right down to it, about a tenth of a penny for every sales tax dollar you spend comes to MTS. So, you know the emphasis in San Diego hasn't been on public transportation, but I think we do a phenomenal job, we carry a lot of people and we go a lot of places," he said.
Armando Gonzales rides the trolley and recently moved to San Diego from Orange County.
"I think it's great cause I've never had a problem getting to work or anywhere I had to get to," Gonzales said.
MTS is also working on a plan to to extend service north to the UC San Diego campus by 2017. The expansion in September will also affect MTS bus service, with longer operating hours on the weekends and more frequent bus service on Sundays.