MTS should be run as a public service and help area students succeed


There are few things than worse chasing down MTS buses to see the message board read “Out of Public Service.”
In reality our hard-hearted MTS has been out of public service for years. There is no real “service” in the Metropolitan Transportation Services.
Although mass transit works smoothly in scores of cities around the world, people in San Diego County that rely on buses, trains and trolleys have to put up with onerous obstacles, including limited operation, irregular schedules, inadequate coverage and lack of restrooms. Southwestern College students in particular are treated as second-class riders.
MTS needs to do a lot of to improve. SWC administrators need to get moving, too.
SWC lacks a fast service to move students from campus to campus. MTS buses provide just three express runs a day from the H Street or Palomar Street transit centers to the main campus. Overloaded Route 709 buses do not stop to pick up passengers along H Street, causing students to arrive late for classes.
MTS trolleys and buses often run and operate at reduced frequency in the afternoons, evenings and weekends (forget travelling on Sundays). Services run in a unsynchronized manner causing passengers to miss their connections between other buses, trains and trolleys. Riders get off vehicles to see the other transport just departing. Long waits ensue.
MTS’sTrolley Renewal Project, a $660 million dollar trolley station renovation, began by elevating the sidewalks by a few inches, but did not improve the service. Schedules are the same and no brick-and-mortar restrooms were built.
The MTS website says the funding is exclusively for renovations to stations on the Orange and Blue lines. Renovating trolley stations seems like an unnecessary project when it does not improve service.
Those who plan in advance must plan loosely, building in generous time for delays. Operators recommend passengers do not plan around their published schedules. Keeping a reliable schedule is crucial for passengers who work and go to school, yet SDMTS makes it nearly impossible.
SDMTS says buses and trolleys “run every 15 minutes.” In reality a passenger needs add up to 30 minutes per transfer when planning a bus-and-trolley trip.
Service for people with special needs is equally even worse. Because ACCESS mirrors the bus schedules, it will not offer services to those who need it if there is no bus service. When a transportation authority decides to deprive the community from public transportation, this means the passengers need to use an expensive taxi to get to a hospital, school or shopping.
Public transportation is an essential service and should be available to all passengers all the time. It is a public service, not a business, and does not to be profitable. Transit agencies are funded by grants from all level of government to assure they provide services in a nation. They are also good for business and industry.
SDMTS should be running between SWC’s Otay, San Ysidro, and National City and Chula Vista campuses. Buses should drive on the main campus and stop at the back door near the library so students can get early to the library to prepare for classes. A futuristic trolley should be running looping around the Southwestern Community College District.
District administrators do not to appear interested in the students who need public transportation. Instead of encouraging good public transportation, SWC has built acres of empty parking spaces. SWC does not have a dedicated employee to supervise transportation.
San Diego County needs a modern transportation system designed with a priority to serve the community.MTS needs to rewrite its mission statement to prioritize passenger’s needs. Until then, all MTS buses should have big signs that read “OUT OF PUBLIC SERVICE.”


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