Red, white and brand new it is the latest transit service to hit the North County. It is called Rapid 235, a bus line featuring high-frequency, limited-stop service from the North County to downtown San Diego.
For Rancho Bernardo resident James Chiu, it is a long awaited form of public transportation.
“It will allow residents as well as anybody to be able to go into the city and take advantage of the public transportation system,” said Chiu, who commutes several days a week to volunteer at the USS Midway Museum.
A trip that used to take residents like Chiu more than an hour and a half to get downtown, this bus line promises to cut that travel time in half.
"It's going to eliminate a transfer when I do go to Escondido transit center I used to have to take the breeze 350 route, now it's just one straight shot and that's going to be a lot nicer," said Jake Fritz, who commutes from Rancho Bernardo to Kearny Mesa.
Rapid 235 operates seven days a week, from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. It makes stops every 15 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes the remainder of the time.
“With the 235 I can come home noon time if I have to,” said Daniel Tan of Rancho Penasquitos. “That's an option that's really good cause with the kids and all, it's convenient."
It is also the first transit service to use the I-15 express lanes and at $2.50 a trip, for many, it beats having to drive.
"It's very exciting that there's a better route to take my son downtown, he goes to work in the Gaslamp Quarter, he works at the Omni, and he uses a wheelchair," said Kathy Keith of Poway.
With special ramps for wheelchair access she says the new bus route will save her son a lot of time.
“Now he can catch a bus a lot later in the morning and still get downtown in time for work,” she added Sunday morning.
Rapid is among the first of a new breed of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) services that SANDAG is building in collaboration with the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS).
Rapid is an integral part of a region-wide strategy to create a BRT network to provide even more travel choices. In the coming years, Rapid will expand into a vast network of quick and efficient public transit throughout the region. Future routes include Escondido to UCSD (via Mira Mesa Boulevard), SDSU to Downtown San Diego (via El Cajon and Park Boulevards), and Otay Mesa to Downtown San Diego (via Interstate 805).
For more information visit the Rapid MTS website.