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Get Off the Bus, Gus

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, the region's mass transit system that covers 3240 square miles for approximately three million residents, is forced to streamline operations by about $13 million dollars. The agency blames the deficit on a loss of State Transit Assistance funding, fewer riders, and decreased revenues from sales tax. To make up or the $13 million shortage, on January 7, during a board of directors meeting, board members agreed to trim $7 million in service routes by eliminating Sunday bus routes and an overall reduction in frequency on Saturdays and Sundays beginning on February 28. The rest of the deficit will be paid for by one-time reserve funds.

"The [Metropolitan Transit System] Board of Directors did not want to consider an increase in monthly pass prices or cash fares. [Metropolitan Transit System] has already increased fares three times in the last two years. The only other way to balance the budget is by reducing expenses," read a recent news release.

According to the agency's website, other options included eliminating weekday and Saturday routes. Instead they opted to reduce rates on what they say, in terms of riders, is the slowest day of the week. On an average weekday, approximately 274,000 people hop on a bus, trolley, or train. On Sundays, that number is nearly cut in half, to 145,000 riders. The agency also says that many people who ride on Sundays are out on "discretionary trips."

To assure residents that reducing weekend routes and route frequency was a last resort, the agency posted other cost-saving initiatives they have adopted in recent years on their website: "[Metropolitan Transit System] over the last three years has reduced management staff by 20 percent, eliminated pay increases and benefits, renegotiated union contracts, consolidated contracts to run bus operations more efficiently, increased advertising and other non-fare revenues, raised fares and decreased service. All of the decisions have been painful, particularly for the customers of MTS."

And while reducing routes and using one-time reserve funds have solved this year's budget, it does not address next year’s budget, leaving many riders curious if new fare increases are on the way. According to the website, however, "There is no consideration at this time to raise fares for monthly passes or cash fares. The Budget Development Committee determined that [Metropolitan Transit System] riders have done their share by absorbing three fare increases over the last two years to help make up for the loss of sales tax revenues."

To get to the agency's website, go to sdcommute.com and click on "Proposed Service Changes."

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San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, the region's mass transit system that covers 3240 square miles for approximately three million residents, is forced to streamline operations by about $13 million dollars. The agency blames the deficit on a loss of State Transit Assistance funding, fewer riders, and decreased revenues from sales tax. To make up or the $13 million shortage, on January 7, during a board of directors meeting, board members agreed to trim $7 million in service routes by eliminating Sunday bus routes and an overall reduction in frequency on Saturdays and Sundays beginning on February 28. The rest of the deficit will be paid for by one-time reserve funds.

"The [Metropolitan Transit System] Board of Directors did not want to consider an increase in monthly pass prices or cash fares. [Metropolitan Transit System] has already increased fares three times in the last two years. The only other way to balance the budget is by reducing expenses," read a recent news release.

According to the agency's website, other options included eliminating weekday and Saturday routes. Instead they opted to reduce rates on what they say, in terms of riders, is the slowest day of the week. On an average weekday, approximately 274,000 people hop on a bus, trolley, or train. On Sundays, that number is nearly cut in half, to 145,000 riders. The agency also says that many people who ride on Sundays are out on "discretionary trips."

To assure residents that reducing weekend routes and route frequency was a last resort, the agency posted other cost-saving initiatives they have adopted in recent years on their website: "[Metropolitan Transit System] over the last three years has reduced management staff by 20 percent, eliminated pay increases and benefits, renegotiated union contracts, consolidated contracts to run bus operations more efficiently, increased advertising and other non-fare revenues, raised fares and decreased service. All of the decisions have been painful, particularly for the customers of MTS."

And while reducing routes and using one-time reserve funds have solved this year's budget, it does not address next year’s budget, leaving many riders curious if new fare increases are on the way. According to the website, however, "There is no consideration at this time to raise fares for monthly passes or cash fares. The Budget Development Committee determined that [Metropolitan Transit System] riders have done their share by absorbing three fare increases over the last two years to help make up for the loss of sales tax revenues."

To get to the agency's website, go to sdcommute.com and click on "Proposed Service Changes."

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Comments
4

Sandy Eggo, by sheer size, has killed ANY attempt to redeem itself. The county is too big to support a normal sense of mass transportation. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

Jan. 9, 2010

Sadly, these kinds of cut-backs in services are going to be the story of 2010. Did you hear about Blacks Beach lifeguard service?

Jan. 10, 2010

Yeah. I LOVE water. LOVE to swim and have never swam in the ocean but the day I do, I'd like someone to be there to try and save me if I get cocky.

Jan. 10, 2010

It seems that the MTS new compass card customer-tracking system turned out to be a whole lot more expensive that first anticipated.

Personally, I don't see why being tracked from station to station on the trolley with one's compass card is such a great thing for consumers. Unless one is totally drugged-out or asleep, there's no reason for MTS to be everybody's daddy and spend more on computers, tap&go terminals, and all of that data processing infrastructure to keep track of us on our daily excursions. We already have GPS in our cell phones anyways.

I haven't crunched the numbers, but I'd bet MTS would have a smaller deficit and dropped a lot less Sunday route service if it didn't give itself its new computerized Xmas present.

Jan. 12, 2010

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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