MTS will reduce service levels in response to coronavirus pandemic

SAN DIEGO(KUSI) – The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System will reduce bus and Trolley service by approximately 25 percent beginning Monday, April 13 to address the reality of record-low ridership while still providing critical service for essential workers and trips.  

“Transit is an essential service and must remain accessible for essential workers and services. And especially for our transit dependent communities,” said MTS Board Chair Nathan Fletcher. “MTS has lost about 65 percent of ridership on buses and Trolleys since the Governor’s stay-at-home order. It seems counterintuitive, but this is actually a good thing. It means our community is working together to limit the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.”

“We’ve been analyzing ridership for the past three weeks and it looks like it has stabilized at about 100,000 trips per day,” said MTS CEO Paul Jablonski. “Our service analysis looked at a lot of factors including proximities to grocery stores, hospitals, government locations and we tried to focus on maintaining service these areas. We think this is a good service plan that will meet the needs of residents for essential trips, and also offer us flexibility to restore to regular service levels when travel restrictions ease.”

Highlights of the new service changes include:
• No routes will be discontinued. Every route that exists today, will continue to operate weekday service
• Approximately a 25% reduction in weekday service overall
• Approximately 70% of our bus routes will have reduced span and/or frequency
• More than 3 dozen bus routes will continue normal service levels
• Trolley service will continue on a normal weekday schedule on the Orange and Sycuan Green Lines (15 minute most of the day)
• UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley service will revert back to pre-January 27 service levels (7.5 minute frequency in the peaks, 15-minutes in the non-peaks)
• Normal weekend service will continue

Other changes MTS has made include a new rear-door boarding policy on all buses to increase the distance between passengers and bus operators. Seniors and people with physical disabilities are still allowed to board using the front. Additionally, MTS will not accept cash payments on buses to further limit interactions with bus operators. Guidelines for this temporary policy are:
• While no cash payments are accepted, passengers still are required to purchase a fare either through the Compass Cloud mobile ticketing app or at a ticket vending machine.
• On buses, visual inspections will still take place. Passengers will be asked to show their Compass Card or Compass Cloud mobile fare upon boarding
• On Trolleys, all fare inspections will be conducted on station platforms, rather than on the vehicles to limit interactions.  

For more information on the new MTS schedule, visit    

Categories: Coronavirus, Good Evening San Diego, Good Morning San Diego, Health, Local San Diego News