MTS Transit Optimization Plan (TOP) and other Transit News
MTS conducts a system wide planning effort every 10 years in an attempt to balance service. This process is known as the Transit Optimization Plan (TOP). The goal is to leverage existing resources while reversing the trend of decreasing ridership. Simultaneously with the TOP, SANDAG is conducting a Fare Study, which is the precursor to fare increases. In addition, the MTS Access (Para transit aka ADA transit) with a large increase in demand has implemented stringent administrative changes to the eligibility process deterring potential riders from completing their applications. MTS Access is much more costly to operate than Fixed route. The TOP is focused on Fixed Route buses and the trolley was not part of the TOP.
All of these measures described above are another way that is justifying a reduction of service to Clairemont and other communities.
After attending the MTS Board meeting and TOP Public Hearing July 20 and hearing 49 plus testimonies from across the MTS service area about the impact in their neighborhoods, I have summarized the proposed changes for the primary routes. Perhaps transit riders and parents who are depending on these Bus Routes for transportation to school, work, shopping, medical appointments and/or our beautiful beaches will appreciate these notes and if not already submitted comments, submit them.
Summary of Proposed Changes (TOP) to Fixed Route Bus Routes
#27 Streamline route to Kearny Villa Rd. instead of Convoy St. between Balboa Ave. and Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
#41 No changes proposed. This route originates in Fashion Valley Transit Center and generally runs along Genesee through Clairemont and ends at Gilman/Myers on the UCSD campus. Weekday service 15-min frequency until PM, weekend 30-min frequency.
#44 No longer serve Clairemont.
Replacement of existing service from Clairemont Square east along Clairemont Mesa Blvd. with proposed 105.
Proposed 44 will originate in Old Town and travel north via Linda Vista and Convoy and at Convoy and Clairemont Mesa turn right (east) to end in Kearny Mesa at the corner of Clairemont Mesa and Complex Street.
#50 Will be reduced to only peak rush hours – Monday thru Friday.
Proposal replaces the northbound 105 service at Clairemont Mesa and Clairemont Drive intersection, turn left and continue westward on Clairemont Mesa and Regents Road to Governor Drive and turn right (North) and end at University Towne Centre Transit Center but only during rush hours.
Outside the peak hours, downtown bound riders will be required to go north and east to travel South (Proposed 105) or if closer to Old Town taking the Proposed 105 and the Green line (trolley) and another transfer to bus downtown thus taking a 20 minute ride and changing into an hour plus ride. This operational practice of multiple transfers decreases ridership.
#105 Increase frequency to 15-min weekday and 30-min weekend
Instead of Milton St./Burgener Blvd. use Denver St/Ingulf St.
Instead of going *left at Clairemont Mesa Blvd to serve Regents and Governor will turn right and end in Kearny Mesa at Clairemont Mesa and Complex Street. This proposal targets Mesa College students from the North and South using 235. The TOP proposes to increase frequency for 235 to weekday midday service to 15-min.
Transfers to 41 to go North (since 50 and 105 no longer available) will be difficult at Clairemont Mesa Blvd and Genesee when before with the 50 and 105 there were not any transfers all the way to University Towne Centre or Downtown. Multiple transfers discourage ridership.
The net results of all of the TOP’s proposed changes are a reduction of service to Clairemont. The TOP emphasizes travel east to Kearny Mesa with 2 routes, the 44 and 105. The continuous service south to Downtown (50) and north to University Towne Centre via Governor Drive during the day to report to jury duty, use Central library, Federal Building, Social Security office, shopping, recreation, UCSD, medical offices and other public services and buildings will be eliminated. The Green Line Trolley has already been changed to no longer connect with the Orange Line Trolley at Santa Fe Depot. How the TOP affects bus stops is not available.
To conclude, in 2008 many of the Bus Routes described above were reduced (especially the 105) and after the recovery have not been restored. Unlike our libraries’ hours that were slowly, incrementally restored to pre-2008 hours, I cannot see this happening with MTS. One could argue with the completion of the Mid Coast Trolley Line (aka UCSD Blue Line extension) from Old Town to University Towne Centre service levels might be restored.
In the meantime, the same needs exist and continue to expand with ever increasing congestion on the streets and highways. Clairemont seniors, students, and our potential transit riders deserve the reliable and consistent alternative to the automobile we have depended on for a very long time.
There is still time to comment
Public Comment on these TOP proposals will be accepted by MTS until September 20 at 2:00 PM. The MTS Board will vote the TOP on September 21. The City of San Diego representative on the MTS Board is Lorie Zapf and the Board of Supervisors representative is Ron Roberts. The MTS Board does not meet in August.
There are 4 ways to submit your comments:
- Telephone Hotline: (619) 595-4912 (Voicemail)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: sdmts.com/TOP
- U.S. Mail: MTS TOP Comments, 1255 Imperial Ave., Suite 1000,
San Diego, CA 92101
Comments prepared by Lynn Parrish, long time resident of North Clairemont. Ms. Parrish is a transit rider and serves as the Fixed Route Consumer – Alternate on the MTS Accessible Services Advisory Council and is a member of the Consumer Accessible Transportation Committee-San Diego.