UCSD and MTS to Introduce A, B, S, & D Transit Passes

Written by: Issac Canada

“I thought San Diego had a really good public transit system, but they really just threw us under the bus,” shared a student.
Photo by Jay Noonan

After years of complaints about overcrowding on Metropolitan Transit Service buses at UCSD, MTS and UCSD have announced a partnership to completely overhaul the MTS fare system and bus network. UCSD will assist MTS in creating a fare system similar to UCSD’s parking permit system, including the core A, B, and S permits, and the newer D permits, replicated as transit passes.

“We’re really excited about adopting UCSD’s excellent parking management into our world-class transit system,” explained an MTS spokesperson. “This new fare ordinance will ensure all passengers have easy access to services, while encouraging alternative modes of transportation, like single-occupancy vehicles.”

“We know people will ride transit when it is proximate, frequent, and time-competitive with personal automobiles. To limit demand, we did things like having an hour headway on Route 31, not running Route 237 during midday, and slashing weekend service, but it hasn’t been enough, even after dragging our feet on transit priority at traffic signals,” explained MTS. Overcrowding on the SuperLoop and inconsistent arrivals were given as examples of reasons to reduce ridership.

A and B passes will grant passengers full access to all MTS services, including priority boarding for A pass holders. More congested routes will also feature reserved “A 24/7” seating. Holders of “Official Business” and “Contractor” passes will have access to a second pull cord to “un-request” a requested stop. Reserved passes will allow passengers to summon a private bus on demand. S pass holders, limited to 5 percent of the student body, are able to board as standees after all A and B pass holders have boarded. D pass holders are limited to using certain routes, buses, and stops. Currently, the closest D stop to UCSD campus is the UTC transit center.

Professor Johnston Profk of the UCSD Physics Department and UTC resident called the new changes excellent, saying, “No longer will I need to worry about being passed by three full buses on my way to work in the morning. Now my commute, door to door, should only take about 15 minutes thanks to the stop by York Hall. I know hundreds of thousands of San Diegans are being screwed, but there just aren’t enough bus seats. We need to be encouraging other ways to get around.”

MTS has added that all one-ways, currently priced at $2.50, will be increased to $30, or $15 for seniors. MTS expects to increase A and B pass prices by approximately 3-5 percent each year, while S passes will increase approximately 10-25 percent each year. D passes will remain stable until the opening of the trolley extension, at which point MTS says they may need to substantially increase D pass prices to mitigate increased demand. MTS says the increases are necessary to fund increased transit service to meet demand, which will mostly be available to A and sometimes B pass holders. “We really hope this will allow us to move to a sustainable revenue model with services at a variety of price points, while listening to the feedback of our most important riders,” said a MTS spokesperson while physically shoving passengers onto a SuperLoop bus.

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