SAN DIEGO COUNTY – San Diegans now have a new, fast, and efficient way of traveling between home, work, school, and other key destinations between Escondido, Kearny Mesa, City Heights, and Downtown San Diego. On Sunday, June 8, SANDAG and Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), in partnership with Caltrans, launched Rapid – the first high-frequency, limited-stop service in the region to use the I-15 Express Lanes.
Hundreds of community members, along with elected officials, celebrated the start of the new Rapid service at four community events at the Escondido Transit Center, Rancho Bernardo Transit Station, Sabre Springs/Peñasquitos Transit Station, and the City Heights Transit Plaza. As part of the launch festivities, rides on Rapid are free all day today, between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m.
“With the launch of Rapid, we are taking transit service to a whole new level in the San Diego region. Riders will enjoy a more comfortable, frequent, and reliable service – like a Trolley on rubber tires,” SANDAG Chair and Santee Councilmember Jack Dale said. “In the next few years, the Rapid network will continue to expand region-wide to key transportation corridors, offering San Diegans real travel choices that are competitive with driving alone.”
Future Rapid routes include Escondido to UC San Diego (via Mira Mesa Boulevard), San Diego State University (SDSU) to Downtown San Diego (via El Cajon and Park boulevards), and Otay Mesa to Downtown San Diego (via eastern Chula Vista and Interstate 805).
”With Rapid, we are giving people another great alternative to driving,” said Harry Mathis, Chair of the MTS Board of Directors. “And for our existing riders, Rapidprovides much faster service than is currently available. Rapid is all about providing a new level of customer convenience with comfortable buses, next arrival signs, beautiful shelters, and service all day, every day in both directions.”
Rapid 235 began service on Sunday, June 8 between Escondido and Downtown San Diego, with stops at Del Lago, Rancho Bernardo, Sabre Springs, Kearny Mesa, City Heights, City College, and along Broadway in Downtown San Diego. When the Miramar College Transit Station opens later this year, Rapid 235 also will provide service to Mira Mesa and connect with many other MTS routes there. Until then, Rapid 235 will travel nonstop between Kearny Mesa and Sabre Springs.
Rapid operates seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., every 15 minutes during weekday rush hours, and every 30 minutes during non-rush hours and on weekends.Rapid takes advantage of the I-15 Express Lanes and direct access ramps to deliver fast and frequent trips. Riders will enjoy brand new vehicles featuring cushioned seats, generous headroom, and big windows. The adult cash fare for Rapid 235 is $2.50 or $72 for a monthly pass.
The Rapid service also features 29 new buses designed for maximum comfort, accessibility, and convenience. The vehicles have low-floor boarding, multiple doors, fare boxes that accept Compass Cards, and automated systems that provide announcements of station stops and other transit information. In preparation for the launch of Rapid, the Rancho Bernardo, Del Lago, and Sabre Springs/Peñasquitos transit stations were expanded and upgraded with new amenities over the past two years. Rapid is made possible by funding from the regional TransNet half-cent sales tax approved by San Diego County voters for transportation improvements.
In conjunction with the launch of Rapid 235, the existing peak-hour weekday Premium Express already operating in the I-15 corridor will get a makeover. Premium Express was rebranded as Rapid Express on June 8. The fare for Rapid Express remains the same as for the Premium Express – $5 for adult cash fare or $100 for a monthly pass.
MTS has also realigned other routes along the corridor to provide smooth connections to Rapid. Details about the service changes are available athttp://www.sdmts.com/Planning/documents/June-2014-Service-Changes.pdf. To learn more about Rapid, visit RapidMTS.com.