North County Transit District discontinues Route 389

The North County Transit District has discontinued Route 389, which ran between the Escondido Transit Center and Pala Casino with a stop at the park-and-ride by state Route 76 and Old Highway 395.

“We didn’t have enough demand to keep that up for now,” NCTD marketing and communications manager Kimy Wall said.

Route 389 departed every two hours, leaving Escondido Transit Center between 6:03 a.m. and 8:03 p.m. and leaving Pala Casino between 7:06 a.m. and 9:04 p.m. The full trips took between 39 and 42 minutes. From April 2017 to June 2017, Route 389 had an average of 60.56 passengers per day for the 16 total trips with an average of 9.75 passengers per day at the park-and-ride lot.

The riders traveling between the Escondido Transit Center and Pala Casino will still be able to use Route 388, which runs through eastern Escondido, Valley Center and Pauma Valley. NCTD expanded Route 388 service from eight trips each way daily to nine trips daily from the Escondido Transit Center to Pala Casino and 10 daily trips from Pala Casino to the Escondido Transit Center. The full trip lengths from Pala Casino to the Escondido Transit Center range from 79 to 90 minutes, while the full trips from the Escondido Transit Center to Pala Casino range from 81 to 96 minutes.

Route 389 might have been the most logical route to serve the new development on the northeast side of Interstate 15 and state Route 76. Palomar College will begin classes in August 2018, and the Horse Creek Ridge development is under construction.

“NCTD evaluates the current service on a monthly and quarterly basis in a comprehensive review and makes service changes once every six months,” Wall said. “While the Palomar College campus in Fallbrook is scheduled to open in August 2018, if NCTD were going to provide service to this campus we would likely not provide service sooner than April 2019 as we need to see what the enrollment numbers look like as well as the locations of where the students are coming from.”

Horse Creek Ridge will include 521 single-family dwelling units and 230 multi-family dwelling units.

“Due to the low density of this area, which will likely lead to underutilized service, we don’t have current expansion plans for service through this area,” Wall said.

Horse Creek Ridge is the residential portion of the Campus Park project; D.R. Horton purchased that property from Passerelle, after the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved the full Campus Park project in May 2011. The conditions of the Campus Park approval included a recommendation, but not a requirement, to provide lifeline transit service. The portion still owned by Passerelle includes plans for a town center commercial area totaling 61,200 square feet and 157,000 square feet of professional office space, although Passerelle cannot begin construction until a final map is approved by the board of supervisors.

Route 389 connected to Route 388 at Pala Casino and to numerous routes at the Escondido Transit Center, including the Sprinter light rail line but not to Route 306, which runs from the Vista Transit Center to Fallbrook through Bonsall. NCTD does not have any current plans to connect central Fallbrook to the development on the northeast side of SR-76 and I-15.

“At this time due to the low density of this area, which will likely lead to underutilized service, we don’t have plans to connect central Fallbrook to the Palomar College/Horse Creek Ridge area,” Wall said.

As more development occurs in the general area, NCTD may consider service in the future.

“Every six months we re-evaluate, and things can always change,” Wall said.

NCTD also consolidated its routes through Camp Pendleton. Route 315 previously ran from Oceanside Boulevard and Avenida Del Oro to the 22 Area or Avenue E and 10th Street on Camp Pendleton, and now it runs from the Carlsbad Village Coaster station to the 14 Area or Vandegrift Boulevard and 16th Street. Route 392 between the Oceanside Transit Center and the Naval Hospital and Route 395 from the Oceanside Transit Center to El Camino Real in San Clemente have been converted to flex routes, and Route 395 now ends at Camp San Onofre.

The service changes took effect Oct. 8.

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