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San Diegans Encouraged To ‘Dump The Pump’ For Public Transit

Above: Commuters board the San Diego Trolley near Old Town on June 20, 2013.

Aired 6/20/13 on KPBS News.

People across San Diego County were encouraged today to leave their cars at home and instead take the trolley, train or bus as part of a national effort to reduce oil dependence and pollution.

People across San Diego County were encouraged today to leave their cars at home and instead take the trolley, train or bus as part of a national effort to reduce oil dependence and pollution.

Dump the Pump day highlights the benefits of taking public transportation, including saving money on gas and car maintenance.

San Diegans in a two-person household can save an average of $10,428 annually by downsizing to one car, according to the latest Transit Savings Report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA),

Domingo Ramirez started taking public transportation two weeks ago for his daily commute from Old Town to La Jolla and said he enjoys the scenic ride and anticipates he’ll save thousands of dollars.

"I imagine I might save $7,000 to $8,000 a year, and that’s not counting the wear and tear on my car, and myself," said Ramirez.

San Diego County commuters take an average of 300,000 bus or trolley trips each day. Rob Schupp, spokesperson for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, said ridership is on the rise, and so are the number of bus and trolley routes.

"We’re really extensive," said Schupp. "We’ve got 90 bus routes. 53 miles of double track trolley. We’ve got brand new trolley cars out there. We serve a lot of people in San Diego. I think it can work for a lot more people too."

Switching to public transportation also reduces pollution. A person with a 20-mile commute can reduce carbon emissions by approximately 20 pounds per day, according to APTA.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Pookster1'

Pookster1 | June 20, 2013 at 3:37 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

I took San Diego Mess Transit between North Park and La Jolla for five years trying to save money, the environment, and wear, tear, and maintenance on my vehicle. During this time, I was lucky enough to experience constant tardiness due to missed connections, breakdowns, and cut in routes. Did I forget to mention the obnoxious passengers (funky smells), curt drivers, dirty seats (people constantly put their feet on the seats), and incidents involving public intoxication, vomiting, disputes and altercations? So encouraging people across San Diego to 'Dump the Pump' gives me quite a chuckle. I'd like to see ALL the administrators for SDMTD 'Dump the Pump' every day for at least a minimum of a year. Then they can truly appreciate what they are promoting.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | June 20, 2013 at 5:43 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

I commuted on the trolley for years from my home in La Mesa to my job downtown. Never had any problems with it. None of the things Pookester1 refers to. Maybe its just him, or maybe you had to be there. If you live and work along an existing trolley route, its a no brainer. Too bad SANDAG won't expand the system a lot faster to make if work better for more people. But they're too busy building new Lexus lanes on the freeways to keep those political contributions from freeway contractors coming to the SANDAG board members.

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | June 21, 2013 at 5:56 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

I'd love to dump my vehicle for a convenient public transportation. Troiuble is the public transportation system just isn't convenient. It makes no sense unless we expand the routes and improve schedules.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 21, 2013 at 10:02 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Let's be honest, people with cars will not take buses if they don't have to. They are often tardy in this city and very unreliable.

People with cars WILL take light or heavy rail IF it goes where people are going.

SANDAG is an incompetent organization that has assumed for decades that only poor people take mass transit. This is why is was build to go to only certain, sporadic areas. You can't even get around neighborhoods within the inner city on it. It goes to Mexico and El Cajon, but not the most logical of routes from downtown just up the hill to Balboa Park and Hillcrest.

I am a huge proponent of mass transit, but the city's transit planning agency needs to meet us half-way.

It's hard to get enthused about mass transit in San Diego when it's dictated by a car-centric, anti-environment, socio-geo-economic bigoted agency like SANDAG!

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | June 21, 2013 at 10:29 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

RegularChristian, I don't know if this has ever happened, but I actually agree with you here! The system is more inconvenient to use than driving my scooter where I need to go. In fact, my company even pays for public transportation passes, but it makes more sense for me to pay for my scooter out of pocket instead. I am not a fan of the idea of spending billions of dollars to put rail lines every which way across the city, but if a system like that was already in place, and it was SAFE, I would use it instead of my scooter.
Pookster1, I agree with you about the trolley riding experience. It can be terrifying, and disgusting. It seems like a lot of homeless, mentally insane, tweekers and gang members use it. Anyone who thinks the trolley is safe and convenient will have their mind changed when they find themselves sitting across from a large, wild eyed man whispering to himself, who then gets up and starts marching up and down the trolley car violently waving his limbs around and screaming profanities at no one. Or, when they look over and see a man sitting with his penis exposed urinating on the floor... As dangerous as riding my scooter is, I feel much safer on it than on the trolley.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 21, 2013 at 12:21 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Has MTS has ever considered a "first class" trolley car?

Pay a little more, but get a dedicated guard and a well maintained clean car.

That would probably significantly increase ridership amongst middle and upper class patrons who refuse to ride because of safety and sanitary issues.

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Avatar for user 'gdn31'

gdn31 | June 21, 2013 at 12:36 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Safety & sanitation aside, how about making it work for EVERYBODY? It's great if you live in the outlying urban areas and work downtown, and your work schedule is Monday-Friday, 8 to 5 with weekends & holidays off, but I, for example, live in the South Bay, work in the East County, and my schedule is 2pm to 10pm, Friday-Tuesday. I drive to work because there is no transit in Santee after 10pm (I would be stranded at work), and the total trip would be over an hour for a drive that only takes me 20-25 minutes.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | June 21, 2013 at 12:59 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

"Anyone who thinks the trolley is safe and convenient will have their mind changed when they find themselves sitting across from a large, wild eyed man whispering to himself, who then gets up and starts marching up and down the trolley car violently waving his limbs around and screaming profanities at no one."

Alex,

Don't be so darn unsociable. Next time you see me on the trolley, introduce yourself.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 21, 2013 at 1:02 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

gdn31,

Yes, but how many people have your schedule? Very few, so it would be economically unfeasible. But you do have a point about speed.

If it is faster to drive, and it usually is, most people will ignore the Trolley.

MTS needs to stop coming up with ridiculous marketing campaigns like "Dump the Pump" and do something that will actually increase ridership:

1. Increase speed
2. Improve safety and sanitation
3. Increase locations served

THEN put their marketers to work.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 21, 2013 at 1:04 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Don't be so darn unsociable. Next time you see me on the trolley, introduce yourself. -DLR

===

LOL! Best post of the week!

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Avatar for user 'jenjen'

jenjen | June 21, 2013 at 1:16 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Peking_Duck_SD there are actually three different routes from downtown to Hillcrest via one side or the other of Balboa Park. The 3 and 120 on the west, the 7 in the middle of the park.

MTS did a big overhaul of the bus system a few years ago to make the system work better for working people, based on data about employers with lots of transit-using employees and where they are coming from. Unfortunately, immediately after that, their budget was slashed and they had to scale way back. They still haven't recovered fully - Sundays in particular are still a disaster. I think they also could do better at looking at non-work related transit use such as night use by folks going out for entertainment. One good thing the Compass Card system brings for this sort of planning is a LOT more data on rides.

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | June 21, 2013 at 4:09 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

DeLaRick,

"Don't be so darn unsociable. Next time you see me on the trolley, introduce yourself."

Ha ha, that made me laugh!

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | June 24, 2013 at 8:41 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

The main obstacle to a good public transit system is the idea that we all want the freedom to drive our own cars where we want when we want with who we want instead of being stuck with certain fixed routes.

I want them both. We can have both.

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