Last Sunday I decided to go see a play downtown. I didn’t want to pay the price for parking, so decided I would take the 35 bus to the trolley station and then take the Blue Line from there. I got all ready to go, allowing myself plenty of time to get there, and went to the bus stop on Sunset Cliffs and Pt. Loma Ave.
Guess what? On Sunday there is no 35 bus on Sunset Cliffs and Pt. Loma Ave. Where do I have to go to catch it? Niagra and Sunset Cliffs is the new stop. That’s over one mile from where I live. And…if I were walk to the new bus stop and take it to the trolley station to attend the play, the last bus leaving Old Town to return to Ocean Beach is at 7:45pm. How would I get home then if the play was not over yet? Or if I wanted to have a drink with friends to discuss the play? Or…….? Take a taxi?
And the Supervisors wonder why ridership on the Metropolitan Transit System is down?
There used to be still another way to go downtown from Ocean Beach. That was to take the 923 bus. They eliminated that route entirely for those of us living south of Newport, but during the weekdays you can still catch it by taking the 35 to Newport/Muir – and transferring to the 923. That bus takes you directly downtown. Except, of course, on Saturday, when you can only go as far as the airport and then transfer to the 992 and take it to the City College Trolley Station and walk the rest of the way. Of course, if you wanted to catch an airplane on Sunday, you are out of luck, because the 923 doesn’t run on Sunday.
And…while I am still ranting: Let’s say that I went to a play at the Civic Theater on a weeknight by taking the bus. Getting there would not be as much of a problem as trying to get back home.
Why? The last bus leaving the trolley station for Ocean Beach is at 10:47pm. That means I would have to take an earlier trolley to be at the station to catch the Ocean Beach 35. Taking it one step farther: What if the play didn’t end until 10:30pm. Would I have to leave during the final act in order to catch the bus home?
What if I were at a Padre’s game and it went into extra innings? Would I have to leave the park early and not see the finish of the game because I might miss my bus home?
Ron Roberts, in an article appearing in the San Diego U-T on Thursday, October 14th, blames the economy and unemployment for the drop in ridership. Funny, if the economy is one of the reasons people are not riding the bus/trolley, then why did the MTS raise their prices a few months back? I suggest, Mr. Roberts and members of the board, that instead of adding new routes you take a good look at the existing routes and add to them instead of taking them away entirely. If I were to work downtown –or parts south – there is no way that I could take advantage of the transit system and still keep a viable household.
Until the transit system is user friendly to the beach area, I will still be driving my car, polluting the air, and wondering why other cities I have lived in have solved the problem that San Diego keeps making worse.