North Park is one of eight communities in the region to benefit from a business-boosting MTS program. File Photo

More than 100 businesses will be part of a new transit campaign to support owners recovering from the pandemic – and trolley and bus users too.

The effort, called “Eat-Shop-Play,” by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, will reward people for shopping local in several city and suburban neighborhoods, including Barrio Logan, East Village and North Park in San Diego.

Outside the city, businesses in Chula Vista, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Imperial Beach and National City will take part.

Businesses benefit, but customers who sign up do too. They will receive a stamp card to track purchases . When the card is filled – representing purchases of $10 or more at 10 participating shops – customers earn a free monthly transit card – valued at $72.

Nathan Fletcher, of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, who also leads the MTS board, called small businesses and affordable transit “essential drivers of economic recovery for our region.”

“Eat-Shop-Play,” he added, “encourages people to re-explore their neighborhoods through the transit system” while supporting businesses that took a hit as COVID-19 limited their operations.

“Our goal is to help them bounce back stronger than ever,” he said.

The program focuses on walkable neighborhoods with bus and trolley stops located near business districts. Small business participants receive a variety of promotional opportunities, including on the web, trolley and bus benches and MTS social media.

“This program is fun way for people to support our neighborhood businesses and I’m excited to be a part of it,” said Gy Kirk, Owner of Sheldon’s Service Station in La Mesa. “I want to thank MTS for getting our business in front of thousands of new customers just when we need it most.”

More businesses will be added. To sign up or view the list of participating businesses by neighborhood, go to EatShopPlaySD.com.

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