MTS expands bus and trolley services and new CEO sets priorities
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – New MTS CEO Sharon Cooney joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss increasing bus and trolley service/COVID safety efforts, and her priorities as the new CEO.
Beginning last week, the UC San Diego Blue Line trolley — which connects the San Ysidro international border to downtown San Diego — will increase its service frequency to every 7 1/2 minutes from 4:30 a.m. until 7 p.m., and keep 15-minute frequencies until 9 p.m., followed by every 30 minutes until the end of the service day.
While trolley service will be increasing to closely mirror pre-COVID- 19 levels, MTS is also making preparations to increase bus service in the coming weeks. Schedules and routes are being finalized.
MTS reduced weekday service levels by approximately 25% on April 13 to address record-low ridership while still providing critical service for essential workers and trips.
In addition to service increases, MTS says it also continues to improve its already-strict safety and sanitizing protocols.
The latest development on that front is retrofitting buses with germ barriers to better protect bus operators. Barriers will also allow the agency to return to front-door boarding, which gives passengers more room in which to spread out. MTS has only allowed rear-door boarding since April 1 to protect the health of bus operators.
Updated schedules can be accessed on the MTS website. MTS asks that people wear face coverings and practice physical distancing at all times.
Starting in September, citations for a lack of fares will be reduced to $25, which violators must pay within 120 days either in person at the Transit Store or by mail.
Those who cannot pay will also have the option of performing three to four hours of community service through the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and other organizations MTS says it is working to add to the program.
The ongoing appeals process allows violators to appeal citations within 15 days, which can be done with proof of a paid fare or in cases of malfunctioning ticket machines.
Citations that are not paid within 120 days will proceed to criminal court, after which additional fines could be levied.
The new program was created to “provide more flexibility for passengers who receive citations for not having a valid fare” on MTS buses and trolleys, according to an MTS statement.