A free shuttle service returns to Coronado this summer, making it easier for locals and visitors to cruise around the island and catch a ride to popular spots.
Now in its fifth year in service, Coronado’s Free Summer Shuttle will start to offer courtesy rides along the island’s busy commercial district from May 27 through Labor Day (Sept. 4).
A project approved by the City Council, the City of Coronado contracts with the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) to operate the shuttle along the existing MTS 904 route. The service aims to improve mobility around the island during the peak summer season.
The shuttle comes in 15-minute intervals, offering rides from Coronado’s civic center to the Hotel del Coronado, the beach, the library and Spreckels Park. It also cruises through Coronado’s downtown and bayfront shopping and dining area to the Coronado Ferry Landing and Marriott Coronado Island Resort and back. Shuttles run from 8:57 a.m. to 9:42 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 10:42 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The City of Coronado said there’s a change this summer to the shuttle’s layover location in the village area. Beginning on June 11, between the Civic Center and Coronado Shores, the layover will now be at the bus stop at Second Street and Glorietta Boulevard, near the Marriott.
This year, for Coronado Village-area residents, the shuttle service will expand its hours on the Fourth of July to 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. to ease traffic congestion and help give rides to the large crowds that typically gather for the holiday parade and fireworks display.
The service will also provide some new options this summer for Cays residents. The City of Coronado has partnered with Loews Coronado Bay Resort to run the Cays Curbside Shuttle Service. Cays residents can call (619) 865-2301 and request curbside pick-up seven days a week, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. A golf cart from Loews will be dispatched to pick up passengers from their homes and shuttle them to the resort. From there, they can catch a free shuttle ride into the Coronado Village.
A fleet of four shuttles makes up the free service. The buses will be wrapped by Discover Coronado (formerly the Coronado Tourism Improvement District), so that they’re easy to spot and board; the organization will foot the $25,000 cost of wrapping the buses. The City of Coronado said that, in all, the total projected costs for the Free Summer Shuttle and Cays Curbside Service this season are $157,500.
Over the past five years, the shuttle service has proven to be a popular way to hitch a ride around Coronado. In 2015, a third bus was added to increase service intervals, which were once at 30 minutes, to 20 minutes. With today’s fleet, the rides arrive every 15 minutes.
The City of Coronado said the first year of the shuttle service saw a 506 percent increase in ridership from the regular MTS 904 route service. Each year since, tie city said ridership has increased an average of 36 percent.