Ride free and go green with MTS

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Photo from Paulkimo90 via Flickr

Photo from paulkimo90 via Flickr

Tired of sitting in rush hour traffic on the I-15 everyday? Do you want to help decrease pollution? Do you like free stuff? If you answered yes to any question then there is good news for you! MTS is giving away free rides for two weeks in February.

Starting on Tuesday the 16th and ending on Friday the 26th, you can hop on express bus route 880 in North County, free of charge. The route connects 4S Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, Mira Mesa and Poway to Sorrento Valley and the Golden Triangle.

Route 880 has three morning and three evening rush hour trips. It would be much more relaxing to sit back and let someone else do the driving for once. No need to sit in stop and go traffic with road raging drivers, now you can let someone else take the wheel and  you will be helping out the environment. The free bus rides are an effort to increase the ridership on the route and help alleviate congestion along the I-15 freeway. Normally the ride costs $5 dollars each way, so riders will save a fair amount by taking the route during those two weeks.

The announcement from San Diego city Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who also sits on the MTS board, comes at time when the public is seeing increases in bus fares and cuts in routes making them less likely to take public transit. “Our goal today is to encourage potential riders to try out this route and consider public transit as a great option for theirdaily commute,” stated Lightner.

San Diego does have a variety of ways to get around town. Besides the buses, the trolley is also a fast an efficient way to get to San Diego’s hottest spots. For only $5 you can purchase a day pass and go from Santee to San Ysidro. Comparing that price to the price of gas, it’s a no brainer.

For the North County, the Coaster can get you from Oceanside to downtown San Diego quickly and inexpensively. For only $14 you can ride the Coaster, Breeze buses, Sprinter light rail trains, MTS buses and the San Diego trolley all day long. Gas prices have been going up and down for weeks, so now may be a good time to consider mass transit and how it can save you money while giving the environment a helping hand.

MTS is dealing with a budget shortfall of $7 million this year as a result of state funding cuts. However, the MTS board recently voted to keep the new red and white buses free of advertising. According to MTS spokesman Rob Schupp, MTS has other sources of revenue they are looking into including selling naming rights for stations. By keeping the buses clear of advertisements, Schupp stated that the branding and image of the organization will benefit and that is a way to increase revenue as well.

At least one San Diegan was outraged about the decision. San Diego State University student Elisa Medina felt outraged about the decision that could potentially throw $300,00 a year out the window. “I could care less what the bus looks like on the outside as long as the fare is reasonable.”

While fare hikes and route cuts abound, MTS is giving customers a break by offering two weeks of free bus rides. Take advantage of this deal, you will be saving money and saving the environment at the same time and going green is the way to go.

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