On June 15, the Metropolitan Transit System and the San Diego Association of Governments launched the first phase of the new “SuperLoop” route in the University City area of San Diego. The launch consists of a 9-stop two-way loop, with two stops on the University of California, San Diego campus.
North University City houses a large number of students and includes a shopping mall, hospital and high-rise buildings. The majority of vehicles traveling in the area make internal trips, and the new route hopes to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. “The stops are designed to best serve that neighborhood and get them out of their cars and circulating to the places they need to go,” said Rob Schupp, director of marketing and communications for MTS. Expected to be completed in fall 2010, SuperLoop will expand to 15 stops in an 8-mile loop.
Project cost is estimated at $16.2 million, which includes the purchase of 12 hybrid buses manufactured by New Flyer featuring ISE Corp. hybrid technology. Annual operating cost is expected to be $3.3 million, and all funding will come from a local half-cent sales tax approved by voters. MTS also expects to include sheltered stops, signs with real-time expected arrival time, green-light extension devices and bus-only lanes for faster service.
The SuperLoop will replace part of the discontinued route 86 that connected the shopping center with the hospital and medical center which, according to Sam Corbett, assistant director of UCSD Parking & Transportation Services, wasn’t in heavy use. “The SuperLoop will be much more utilized than that route,” he said.
UCSD already runs its own 50-vehicle shuttle service with nine routes. “Two of our most heavily utilized routes go into the same area that the SuperLoop will be traveling,” said Corbett. He said the route will give students more transportation alternatives.