Northbound Trolley at Iris Avenue
A northbound trolley at the Iris Avenue Transit Center in Otay Mesa. Photo by Chris Jennewein

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System on Monday increased weekday trolley frequency on its workhorse Blue Line to every seven minutes to support growing ridership.

The increase was announced at a press conference at the Iris Avenue Transit Center in Otay Mesa West, where digital displays were already showing the new schedule.

The agency is spending $6 million to add 74 trips each weekday and 40 trips over the weekend. This will allow a trolley to arrive at a station approximately every 7.5 minutes between 4:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays, and every 15 minutes after that.

On weekends, Blue Line trolleys will now arrive every 15 minutes, compared to every 30 minutes previously.

Supervisor National Fletcher, who chairs the MTS, board said the increased service means less waiting and more convenience for transit riders.

“We want people arriving at a Blue Line trolley station to know that not only will a trolley arrive soon, but there will be seats open,” he said.

The change also supports growth in trolley ridership, which increased by 600,000 passenger trips from July to September and continues to trend up.

“Mass transit systems elsewhere in the county may be stagnating, but MTS is continuing to see increases in ridership,” he said.

Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, Mayor of National City and Vice Chair of MTS, said the Blue Line is an example of first-rate mass transit, and the increased frequency will make it even better.

“National City truly loves the Blue Line,” she said. “It is truly a symbol of opportunity for many.”

Her counterpart in Chula Vista, Mary Casillas-Salas, noted that increasing ridership means fewer cars on the road and cleaner air.

Also on hand for the announcement were representatives of UC San Diego, which the Blue Line will serve beginning next year, and Baja California, for which the trolley is a key link in cross-border traffic.

Since 2014, ridership on the Blue Line has increased by approximately 17%, from 15 million annual passenger trips to more than 18 million.

Chris Jennewein

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