Metropolitan Transit System (MTS)

MTS Announces a Record 95 Million Passengers Rode the Bus and Trolley in FY 2014

The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) announced Aug. 20 that 95,010,550 trips were taken by passengers on MTS buses and Trolleys in Fiscal Year 2014, shattering the previous record of 91,641,508 million set in Fiscal Year 2009. It was an 11.5 percent increase from the 85,193,601 rides taken during Fiscal Year 2013.  

 “Serving 95 million passengers over a 12-month period is a significant milestone for MTS and the public transportation system in San Diego,” said Paul Jablonski, chief executive officer of MTS. “MTS provides critical transportation services for the region, helping residents get to places such as work, school and entertainment venues. The ridership record further demonstrates that public transportation is an attractive alternative for San Diego residents and visitors.”

A number of factors led to the ridership record including new low-floor Trolley cars, reconfigured routes and passenger counting technology upgrades. An improved economy, additional service and gas prices of more than $4 per gallon also contributed to the ridership gains. 

In FY 2014, MTS deployed new low-floor Trolley cars on the Orange Line and realigned the Green Line to provide service all the way to downtown. This made trips faster, more comfortable and more convenient for all passengers. The new trains help speed up the boarding process by allowing direct access and eliminating the need for mechanical lifts for people using mobility devices.

MTS also implemented automated passenger counters (APC) on all trains to tally passengers more accurately. APCs provide an advantage because they collect ridership data through sensors, which increase accuracy over old estimation programs and reduce costs associated with manually collecting the data. 

Ridership to special events such as San Diego Chargers games, Supercross and Comic-Con was also up for the year. These events, which are big economic drivers for the San Diego region, depend on the Trolley to provide alternatives to driving and parking hassles. Ridership to Chargers games, for example was up 14 percent in FY 2014 compared to the previous year.

Trolley ridership increased nearly 34 percent over the previous year from 29,699,366 in FY 2013 to 39,694,197 trips in FY 2014. The Blue Line, with 15,094,878 riders in FY 2014, continues to be the workhorse line from San Ysidro to downtown San Diego.  Green Line and Orange Line ridership increased to 13,673,926 (42 percent) and 10,896,289 (31 percent) respectively. The Silver Line carried 29,104 passengers around the downtown loop on the San Diego Vintage Trolley.

The MTS bus system logged 55,316,353 trips in FY 2014, a 1 percent decrease over FY 2013 primarily due to construction delays on major routes. Some bus routes saw major ridership increases, including Route 105 connecting Old Town and University Towne Center, which logged 399,745 trips, a 12.9 percent increase over FY 2013. Other routes with notable ridership increases over the previous year were Route 967 (National City; 64,284 trips; 10.1 percent increase) and Route 832 (Santee; 60,286 trips; 9.1 percent increase). The busiest bus route in the system continues to be Route 7 (downtown San Diego – La Mesa; 3,771,716 trips).