Paul Jablonski speaks in front of a Route 962 bus in National City. Photo by Chris Jennewein

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System announced Thursday that it is improving service on 26 bus routes starting Sunday morning.

MTS CEO Paul Jablonski made the announcement in front of a bus on Route 962, which will see service from National City to Spring Valley increase from every 30 minutes to every 15 minutes on weekdays.

“We’re putting a lot more service on the street,” said Jablonski. “We’re hoping to really revitalize the system and get more ridership.”

The changes are put of the agency’s Transit Optimization Plan and follow frequency increases on six routes in January. The expanded service costs $2 million and is partially funded by the increased California gas tax under Senate Bill 1.

Jablonski said the changes are in response to rider surveys and competition from Uber and Lyft in some areas.

The agency has faced a two-year-long decline in ridership and fare revenue, but the first round of service changes in January were promising. “From what we experienced in January, we have high hopes,” said Jablonksi.

Mona Rios, a National City councilmember and vice chair of the MTS board, said her city welcomed the new service. “National City has embraced transit for a long time now,” she explained.

MTS operates 95 bus routes and three trolley lines that provide nearly 90 million rides annually.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.