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Quality of Life

Nearly a month after flood damage, MTS Orange Line returns to full service

Large pools of water at the trolley station at Euclid and Market in Chollas View. San Diego, Calif. Jan. 22, 2024.
Alexander Nguyen
/
KPBS
Large pools of water at the trolley station at Euclid and Market in Chollas View. San Diego, Calif. Jan. 22, 2024.

For the first time since the Jan. 22 floods, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System's Orange Line Trolley returned to full service Friday.

The transit agency estimates it will cost nearly $24 million to repair damage done to various parts of the transit system by the flood last month.

Since Jan. 22, MTS has not served two stations along the 19-station Orange Line, which averages 24,000 passenger trips each weekday, 12,800 passenger trips on Saturdays and 11,500 Sundays.

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"We appreciate the patience of our riders as we continue to recover from last month's historic floods that caused extensive damage to the rail system and limited our ability to provide the quality service our Orange Line Trolley riders are accustomed to," said Sharon Cooney, CEO of MTS. "When the damage first happened, we predicted it would take months to get the retaining wall fixed and service back to normal. But our employees and contractors have come through in a big way for our riders. I am pleased to say that today, all 62 stations on our trolley system will be back in operation again."

The January storm did extensive damage to a retaining wall at the 65th Street and Imperial Avenue grade crossing. As a result, passengers have to deboard the trolley at either Euclid Avenue Transit Center or Lemon Grove Transit Center and take a bus shuttle serving the two impacted stations.

On Friday, MTS conducted successful test runs with trolleys on the repaired segment and determined it was safe to resume service for that afternoon.

Service on the Orange Line operates from 5 a.m. to midnight. It serves communities in downtown San Diego, Southeast San Diego, Lemon Grove, La Mesa and El Cajon.