The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) opened a three-mile stretch of dedicated bus-only lanes along El Cajon Boulevard on Wednesday.
It is a three-mile stretch along El Cajon Boulevard between Park Boulevard and Fairmont Avenue.
Civic leaders celebrated the completed project whose goal is to reduce traffic and help the environment by reducing pollution.
"The boulevard busway will service more than 10,000 riders that use the rapid 215 each day," said Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
City officials say ridership increased slightly last year but know that trend has to continue to justify the cost.
"This is about increasing ridership and making transit work" said councilmember Chris Cate.
The Boulevard busway project is a collaboration between the city of San Diego, MTS, and the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association.
Rapid 215 is a one-seat ride between SDSU and Downtown San Diego via El Cajon Blvd. and Park Blvd. through City Heights, North Park, and Balboa Park. It will offer free rides until Jan. 17.
Also, local businesses along El Cajon Boulevard are offering promotions. Bus riders who show their compass card or Compass Cloud App will receive a 10% discount at the following businesses:
- Media Arts Center
- Collins & Coupe
- Bluxom Salon
- Heart & Trotter
- Dojo Café
- Ceramic Heights
- Tiger Tiger
- El Borrego
Over the next 18 months, MTS will evaluate the project for operational benefits, including travel time reliability, visibility, and overall ridership. The city will then use this data to determine if a more permanent fixture makes sense for the communities it serves.
Aside from ridership concerns, there are those in the area who are critical that the bus lane takes away another lane meant for cars and they fear that could add to traffic congestion in the area.