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New Transit Service for South County Commuters Began Today

Free Rides Offered to Celebrate First Week of South Bay Rapid Service

September 4, 2018 -- Local elected officials and community members joined SANDAG, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), Caltrans, and the City of Chula Vista to celebrate and launch the start of the new South Bay Rapid service in south San Diego County.

Service began today on a limited basis with a route between the East Palomar Transit Station at Interstate 805 (I-805) in Chula Vista and Downtown San Diego. The limited service will operate Monday through Friday during peak morning and evening commute times, until the full route opens early next year.

“We are happy to welcome the South Bay Rapid to Chula Vista. Commuters to Downtown San Diego now have a new option to get around, making transit more accessible,” said Chula Vista Mayor and SANDAG Regional Planning Committee Chair Mary Casillas Salas.

“This is the eighth route added to the Rapid system, which helps residents, commuters, students, and visitors get where they need to go quickly and easily throughout the San Diego Region.”

Mayor Salas was joined by National City Councilmember and MTS Board Member Mona Rios, San Diego County Board of Supervisors Greg Cox, and Caltrans District 11 Director Cory Binns.

“The suite of Rapid options has been widely successful. They have quickly become the most popular routes in the system,” said Rios, who is also a SANDAG Board Member. “South Bay Rapid is an affirmation that a new era of transit is in front of South Bay residents.”

“The South Bay Rapid is the latest project that shows how Caltrans and our transportation partners are working successfully with the community to build a sustainable, efficient, multi-modal transportation system to improve the quality of life for communities across our region,” said Binns.

To help encourage people to try South Bay Rapid, MTS is giving free rides for the first week of the launch, September 4-7. Passengers who ride South Bay Rapid will not be required to purchase a fare. For the full schedule and more information, visit

The limited South Bay Rapid morning service will operate between 5 and 8 a.m. and will depart approximately every 15 minutes from East Palomar Transit Station in Chula Vista and stop at Rapid stations on westbound Broadway in Downtown San Diego. Evening service will operate between 3 and 6 p.m. and will depart approximately every 15 minutes from Santa Fe Depot in Downtown San Diego and stop at the eastbound Rapid stations on Broadway before heading south to its final destination at East Palomar Transit Station in Chula Vista.

When the full route is completed in early 2019, the South Bay Rapid service will be a full-service transit route and operate along 26 miles, with 12 stations between the Otay Mesa Transit Center and Downtown San Diego. This service will connect employment and activity centers in Downtown San Diego and South County.

Rapid features high-frequency, limited-stop service, and upgraded bus and station amenities. Rapid improves travel times through the use of transit signal priority, dedicated lanes on some routes, and limited stops. As a result, Rapid provides easy access to desirable destinations, frequent and reliable service, and faster travel time -- all at a cost savings when compared to driving.

South Bay Rapid is funded through TransNet, a regional voter-approved half-cent sales tax to accelerate construction of high-priority transportation projects. The overall project budget for the TransNet Early Action Program phase of the project is approximately $128 million. This budget includes costs for capital improvements, property acquisition, and support costs for design engineering and construction.  An additional $15 million is budgeted for the procurement of new Rapid buses.

Project Manager(s)

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or