San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit Service Launches PRONTO
Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday, August 11th. >>>> A new fare system for MTS More on that next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. ####### The majority of Escondido Union high school students returned to school for in person learning on Tuesday morning. The district says they’ll follow the county’s guidelines if any covid-19 exposures come up. Jazlin Mendez is a senior at Escondido High. “i’m hoping that we can all just go back to sports, and school, and having a normal teenage life for my last year here.” Escondido elementary schools start later this month. ######## Hundreds gathered at the convention center on Tuesday to share memories of Father Joe Carroll, who died a month ago at the age of 80. He was the founder of what is known today as Father Joe’s villages. Joe’s Villages president & CEO Deacon Jim Vargas says Carroll died at peace. “he knew that what he was placed here to accomplish, that he did that as best he could, and that he now was passing it on to others to continue in that work and build on that legacy.” ######## A flash flood WATCH that was issued yesterday for the San Diego county mountains is still in effect through this evening. It’s also been expanded to include the county’s deserts and the Coachella Valley. The National Weather service says a complex of thunderstorms over Arizona will continue moving southwest, potentially reaching the San Diego mountains and deserts late tonight into the overnight hours. The NWS advises residents to monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued. ######### From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. The Metropolitan Transit System is switching to a new fare payment system. KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen says it's meant to make riding public transit a bit easier. If you ride the bus or trolley, it's time to say goodbye to the Compass Card and hello to PRONTO. MARK OLSON METROPOLITAN TRANSIT SYSTEM MO: The technology has gotten outdated and there's been new things that have come along to really help the passenger experience. AB: MTS spokesman Mark Olson meets us at a community outreach in Chula Vista — one of more than 50 events where customers can get their new PRONTO cards for free. Olson says one of the best features of the new system is a pay-as-you-go function called fare capping. MO: What fare capping does is it provides the best fare for people when they're riding. And the smart card figures out what the best fare is going to be for that person. So it's one less thing that our customers need to worry about. So they're never going to pay more than a day pass in a given day or a monthly pass in a given month. KK: I typically take an Uber to work, but then getting off work in the morning I'll take the bus. AB: Fare capping is a useful tool for less frequent riders like Kierra Key. She says loading monthly passes or cash onto a Compass Card was a hassle. KIERRA KEY MTS CUSTOMER KK: If you weren't at a trolley station you had to go to certain stores. So I think PRONTO will be a little bit more readily available for people that aren't mobile. AB: Now to entice passengers into the new fare collection system, MTS is offering free rides for the entire month of September. But... you have to have a PRONTO card. Reporting at the H Street Transit Center, Andrew Bowen, KPBS news. That was KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen. To entice people to give the new system a go, MTS is offering free rides for the entire month of September….but you have to have a PRONTO CARD. The PRONTO system comes with a new smartphone app as well. You can find out more about how to get your PRONTO card by going to RIDEPRONTO-dot-com. ########## Local contractors claimthey’re not being given an equal opportunity to be involved in Chula Vista’s billion dollar Bayfront Development. KPBS reporter Alexandra Rangel has more on the Latin Business Association advocating for minority contractors. Alexa Vasquez, A&G Cleaning “We have the resources, we have the man force, we have everything they're asking for. So why not give your community the opportunity to work on these types of projects. A and G Cleaning is one of 50 local contract companies asking to be included in the Chula Vista Bayfront Project. The redevelopment will completely transform the bayfront into a hotel and convention center that includes commercial space and public amenities. The billion dollar project approved by the Port of San Diego and the city of Chula Vista is expected to bring 30-thousand jobs and ten thousand of those are construction jobs according to the Port of San Diego’s project summary. Ruben Guerra is the Chairman of the Latin Business association. He says local latino businesses aren’t being given equal opportunity for employment. Ruben Guerra, Latin Business Association Chairman “The developer is from Texas. So that’s one negative, but even if you're from outside you still gotta include the community where you're building. Guerra says it’s not just latinos they’re representing, but all minority contractors. He says he’s tried to sit with the mayor of Chula Vista to discuss an equal opportunity plan but there's been no follow through. He’s hoping that will change as the project has already begun its initial phase. Ruben Guerra, Latin Business Association Chairman “They come to their senses and say hey let's sit down and talk about an agreement we can come to to include all the contractors, all the minority contractors, the women, the veterans. Alexa Vasquez, A&G Cleaning “We are a local and women owned company and we’re looking for more contracts.” Alexa Vasquez has been working with A & G Cleaning for Four years. She says they’ve reached out multiple times to project developers for contract opportunities, but have not received a response. Alexa Vasquez, A&G Cleaning “Having these types of projects developed during covid and not being asked to work here, it’s really insulting to companies. It’s disappointing. Ruben Guerra, Latin Business Association Chairman “We don't want a hand out, we call it a hand up. Just open the door and let us do the job. We can do it.” We Reached out to the Port of San Diego for comment. They said only a general contractor has been selected so far for the project and all other contracts have not been awarded. Alexandra Rangel, KPBS News. ########### The San Diego County Sheriff’s office is responding to medical skepticism over a video claiming to show a deputy overdosing on fentanyl. But KPBS’s Amita Sharma says the officials left out any medical findings verifying their controversial contention An incident report shows that deputy trainee David Faiivae passed out after he bent down and his unmasked face neared an area where he had just tested narcotics, including fentanyl. The sheriff’s department also made public lab results confirming that the drug fentanyl was found during the search and the call for service that led to the search. But missing was a medical diagnosis that Faiivae, who was hospitalized after fainting, actually overdosed on fentanyl. Sheriff Bill Gore told the Union Tribune Monday that he, in fact, is the one who made that determination. Undersheriff Kelly Martinez told KPBS something different last week. 3:05 “We really don’t have any other explanation. That’s the only thing. That’s what the paramedics believe happened and the doctors at the hospital believe happened.” Gore declined an interview with KPBS. Amita Sharma, KPBS News. ########## Coming up on the podcast….will we need booster shots for covid-19? Some researchers say yes, some health officials say no. More on that next, just after the break. The newness of Covid-19 has led to confusing advice all through the pandemic. Now, the confusion surrounds booster shots. Is it a good idea for a fully vaccinated person to get an extra dose of vaccine to boost immunity against the Delta variant? Some physicians and researchers say yes, the CDC and San Diego Health officials say no….while others say, it couldn’t hurt... While the emphasis remains on getting shots into the millions of still unvaccinated....some fully vaccinated people are looking for ways to get additional protection. Dr. Shira Ay Belus is an Infectious disease specialist at UC San Diego Health. She spoke with KPBS Midday Edition host Maureen Kavanaugh. Here’s that interview. That was Dr. Shira Ay Belus an Infectious disease specialist at UC San Diego Health, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host Maureen Kavanaugh. That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.