SD's Stranded Motorist Aid Program Expands

Roving trucks help stranded drivers along local freeways

By Monica Garske
|  Friday, Jan 25, 2013  |  Updated 8:50 PM PDT
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A publicly-funded motorist assistance program dubbed the San Diego Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) has now expanded, SANDAG announced.

According to SANDAG, the FSP uses 19 tow trucks and eight light-duty pickup trucks to roam local freeways. FSP drivers assist stranded motorists with a few key things: a gallon of gas, a jump-start, water for their radiator or a tire change.

Ultimately, the goal of the program is to quickly resolve traffic tie-ups caused by minor vehicle breakdowns. San Diego FSP has been around since 1993 as part of a statewide program funded by the state budget and other local sources.

Until recently, the local roadside service had only operated in the region during weekday rush hours. Now, it has expanded to weekends as part of a pilot initiative, SANDAG said.

According to SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos, the FSP program has helped more than 50,000 stranded motorists get safely back on the road in the past year alone.

“The Freeway Service Patrol is an effective tool to improve traffic flow on our region’s most congested freeways,” said Gallegos.

SANDAG began operating the FSP on weekends in the North County back in October and expanded the service into metro San Diego this month.

Weekend FSP service is available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Interstates 5, 8, 15 and 805.
Since the service began in the North County in October, SANDAG says FSP drivers have helped an average of one motorist per hour on the I-15.

And the program isn’t finished expanding just yet.

Future plans include adding a pilot midday roadside service throughout the county starting in July. An additional six tow trucks will be added to the FSP fleet this summer too, for a total of 25 tow trucks roving local freeways.

As for the weekday FSP schedule, hours of service will remain the same, with patrol operating during morning and afternoon rush hours, from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., respectively. On weekdays, the FSP serves sections of Interstates 5, 8, 15, and 805, as well as State Routes 52, 54, 56, 67, 78, 94, 125, 163 and 905. Holidays are excluded.

SANDAG says the pilot expansion will continue as long as funds are available. The plan is to continue fine-tuning the program to improve efficiency on local freeways.

For motorist assistance during FSP service hours, call 511 and say “roadside assistance.” To learn more about the program click here. For a map of the local FSP service area, click here.

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