MTS changing bus routes to make rides faster and more frequent

60 routes will be adjusted through 2018
Posted at 8:23 AM, Jan 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-29 11:23:49-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - About 60 bus routes in the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System will be changed or adjusted starting this week in a move designed to decrease wait times between buses and make some trips faster.

"It's a big deal for our passengers," said MTS Director of Marketing Rob Schupp. "We're trying to make our system more convenient."

The routes being targeted are some of the busiest in San Diego, and many will see buses come every 10 minutes during peak travel times, as opposed to the usual 15-minute gap between buses.

"That's great," said long-time rider Mike Nilsson. "There are days when I would literally run to the bus stop to not have to wait."

Nilsson commutes on Route 3 from Bankers Hill to downtown every day. He said sometimes he has to wait up to 20 minutes for a bus to arrive.

The changes are part of the SDMTS' Transit Optimization Plan they started in 2004. A full list of the routes and how they're being adjusted can be found at

The plan will $2 million, and MTS plans to move money from the capital budget into the operations budget to pay for it. They say it won't affect their ability to maintain the fleet or buy new buses and trolleys when they need to.

Schupp told 10News they have $69 million budgeted each year for capital. Of that, $18 million is set aside as savings to eventually replace the 2000 series trolley cars. That's where the $2 million will be moved from. Since the replacement won't be needed for years, MTS says they'll still have plenty of money to buy new cars when it's time.

In addition to the increased service on 60 routes, a small number of bus routes will see a decrease in service but MTS says that isn't always a negative. They say some of the routes being eliminated are off-set by a major increase in nearby routes. In a survey, riders told MTS they would rather walk a little farther if it meant their rides would be faster.

MTS hopes the changes can reverse a two-year trend in decreased use. Ridership peaked in 2015 with 97 million users on the MTS system. In 2017, that was down to 88 million.