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Record Number Of Riders Hop Aboard MTS Buses

Driving a car comes with expensive gas prices, hectic traffic and parking hassles. So a record-breaking number of San Diegans are hanging up their keys and heading onto buses.

Aired 7/12/12 on KPBS News.

A record-breaking number of San Diegans are hanging up their keys and heading onto buses.

People waiting for a bus in San Diego.
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Above: People waiting for a bus in San Diego.

According to San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System, a record number of travelers rode city buses over the fiscal year that ended June 30.

About 55.5 million bus trips were taken during the 12-month period -- 800,000 more than the previous MTS record set in 2009.

MTS Spokesman Rob Schupp said the growing ridership is due to many reasons, including the improving economy.

“Our ridership really tracks with employment. When people are gainfully employed our ridership goes up,” he said.

He also credited a shifting mindset of San Diegans. Schupp said people are starting to realize the environmental impact cars have, not only regarding pollution, but also the impact on geography.

“People recognize that we’ve run out of land to add lanes to freeways, we’ve run out of land to do big parking structures downtown,” he said. “So public transportation is being targeted as a way for us to grow intelligently.”

The ridership increase means buses will be added and routes expanded; the same is true for San Diego trolleys, Schupp said.

In light of the Comic-Con crush, MTS is selling commemorative trolley day passes decorated with zombies and damsels in distress. The passes can be purchased at certain trolley stations.

Schupp estimated that up to 150,000 Comic-Con goers will use the trolley in the next four days.

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