Rapid Transit System Unveiled in South Bay

Created: 05 September, 2018
Last update: 20 April, 2022

By Ana Gomez Salcido

Local elected officials and community members joined SANDAG, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), Caltrans, and the City of Chula Vista to celebrate the start of the new South Bay Rapid limited service route between the East Palomar Transit Station at Interstate 805 in Chula Vista and Downtown San Diego. The new weekday service will run during peak morning and evening commute times.

To celebrate this new connection, service on the new Rapid route will be free for all commuters during its first week of service, from Tuesday September 4 to Friday September 7.

South Bay Rapid is a $128 million effort to provide travelers with a frequent and reliable transit choice. In early 2019, South Bay Rapid service will open for full service and operate along a 26-mile route between the Otay Mesa Transit Center and Downtown San Diego.

“The East Chula Vista area and the Otay Mesa community continue to grow”, said SANDAG director of Mobility Management at Jim Linthicum to La Prensa San Diego. “Right now is more difficult to get to downtown from the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, than from San Ysidro Port of Entry because of the trolley. But when this project is completed, you’ll be able to get to downtown from Otay Mesa in less than an hour with $2.50.”

“The South Bay Rapid buses are not a regular buses, this transit system includes stations with shelters and waiting areas, and an express service with no stops from Chula Vista up to downtown that takes between 20 to 25 minutes,” Linthicum added. “This project is a great alternative for people without a car or people who don’t want to drive”.

When completed, South Bay Rapid will include 12 stations along a 26-mile route from the Otay Mesa Port of Entry to Downtown San Diego via eastern Chula Vista, connecting to employment and activity centers in Downtown San Diego and South County.

The South Bay Rapid currently operates from Monday to Friday in rush hours, from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. in the mornings and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the afternoons. When the project is completed, the South Bay Rapid will expand its service to every day of the week.
Users of the South Bay Rapid can leave their cars at a new park and ride lot located in the East Palomar Transit Station.

At the heart of the project is the dedicated transit guideway – a nearly six-mile-long transit-only lane constructed in the median of East Palomar Street and along Eastlake Parkway in Chula Vista.

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System operates the South Bay Rapid service in the South Bay.