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MTS Seeks Feedback On Proposed Bus Route Changes

Photo by Kris Arciaga / KPBS

Above: An MTS employee points on a map of proposed changes to the system's bus network at the El Cajon Transit Center, March 29, 2017.

The Metropolitan Transit System is seeking feedback on a plan to revamp its bus network with the goal of improving efficiency and fighting a trend of falling ridership. The system is holding open house events to present the changes throughout the week.

The Metropolitan Transit System is seeking feedback on a plan to revamp its bus network with the goal of improving efficiency and fighting a trend of falling ridership.

For the past several months MTS, has been working on its Transit Optimization Plan — changes to 67 bus routes based on ridership trends and feedback from a preliminary survey. Ten of those routes would be completely discontinued.

Spokesman Rob Schupp said with a shrinking budget, MTS has to find ways to serve more people with less resources.

"We will be increasing frequencies on those high-demand routes," he said. "Some of the routes that have very low ridership, we'll probably take resources off of those and put them on the high-demand routes."

MTS ridership has been steadily declining since its peak two years ago, despite goals in the city of San Diego to cut greenhouse gas emissions by drastically increasing the share of people who ride the bus and trolley to work. Officials attribute the downward trend to relatively cheap gas prices, higher rates of car ownership and competition from the ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft.

Daily MTS rider S. Clive Richard said he was impressed by the proposed changes to the bus routes after checking them out at an open house in El Cajon.

"It seems to be really addressing those issues about how you integrate a network," he said. "It's one thing to just simply have routes that cross each other. But you need services that actually connect."

Schupp said the proposed changes may change based on feedback. The final plan is expected to go before the MTS board of directors at its meeting on May 11.

A full list of the route changes are on the MTS website, as is a link to an online survey where customers can give feedback on each change. Riders can also attend one of the remaining open events this week:

Monday, April 3

–Old Town Transit Center, 6 to 8 a.m.

–City College Transit Center, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tuesday, April 4

–Iris Avenue Transit Center, 6 to 8 a.m.

–City Heights Transit Plaza (University & I-15), 4 to 6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 5

–Santee Trolley Station, 6 to 8 a.m.

–Southwestern College Transit Center, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

–UTC Transit Center (east side of Genesee Avenue), 4 to 6 p.m.

Thursday, April 6

–Miramar College Transit Station, 6 to 8 a.m.

–SDSU Transit Center (near route 955), 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

–Fashion Valley Transit Center, 4 to 6 p.m.

Friday, April 7

–H Street Transit Center, 6 to 8 a.m.

Saturday, April 8

–City Heights Transit Plaza (University & Fairmount), 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

–Iris Avenue Transit Center, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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