The public can ride on Saturday, August 28, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The public can ride on Saturday, August 28, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Photo: MTS

Transportation leaders and transit supporters went on the first official Trolley trip on the southern end of the Mid-Coast Extension of the UC San Diego Blue Line.

The extension will be operated by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS). It was built by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).

The 11-mile light rail extension costed $2.1 billion, and it is set to open in November.

Attendees celebrated with a ribbon cutting at the Tecolote Trolley Station. They rode the Trolley north to the new Clairemont Drive and Balboa Avenue stations.

“Today’s milestone is a big step forward for our region,” said Nathan Fletcher, MTS board chair and chair, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “It means we are well on our way to realizing a new option for people to connect to the University area, speed their commutes and help the environment. I can’t wait for the entire line to open on November 21. I also want to give a special thanks to Senator Padilla and the Federal Transit Administration. This project would not be possible without their support.”

The public can ride on Saturday, August 28, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

 MTS will run Trolley shuttles between the Old Town Transit Center and the Balboa Avenue Transit Center every 15 minutes.

“I’m proud to advocate for California’s clean transportation priorities and build on our state’s legacy of innovation,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “The Mid-Coast Trolley will connect communities, create new jobs, and improve the health of our planet. To build back better, we need to support bold infrastructure renewals like this one.”

Construction for the 11-mile Trolley extension began in 2016. The project remains on budget and on schedule to begin service on Nov. 21.

“As one of the largest undertakings in our region's history, we are extremely proud to have kept this project on-budget and on-schedule to begin service in a few short months," said SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. "We are thrilled to invite the community to join us for a sneak preview to ride along a portion of the new Trolley extension on Saturday at three of the nearly completed stations along Morena Boulevard.”

The project will expand the current Trolley network to provide a one-seat ride from the U.S./Mexico Border all the way north to the University community. The extension will also connect the university area and Downtown San Diego. It will serve UC San Diego and provide healthcare access to the VA San Diego Healthcare System’s 84,500 Veterans.

“There are so many positives to a project like Mid-Coast. It will have a transformative impact on regional transit connectivity,” said Todd Gloria, San Diego mayor and SANDAG vice chair. “Among many benefits, this Trolley expansion will create better job opportunities for families, and better access to education for students. It will help our fight against climate change and at the same time boost economic activity.”

There is no public access to the stations or the tracks until opening day. Construction is still ongoing on portions of the extension and active trains will be on the tracks. Testing and training on the extension will take place for three more months to make sure the system is ready to carry passengers.