Inland Empire Transit News Updates: Corridor-based Metrolink Trains and SW Riverside County

By: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director

This, week I won't be blogging too much as I'll be working with The Transit Coalition's Executive Director Bart Reed in updating the maps for our Metrolink Max campaign. Our goal is to establish corridor-based routing that runs through Los Angeles Union Station instead of just terminating there. That of course builds up ridership and revenue for the railroad. We're also exploring some additional connectivity opportunities along the LOSSAN Rail corridor between Orange County and San Diego. Again, corridor-based regional rail service would greatly increase rail productivity and ridership revenue for both Metrolink and the North County Transit District with the increased station pairs. Stay tuned for more details on that.

Speaking of trains, last Saturday I took two friends aboard the San Bernardino Line; these are two individuals who have never used our Inland Empire regional rail system before.

The trip was to a large event in Los Angeles from Rancho Cucamonga promoting the dignity of life. They enjoyed the ride plus they got their first opportunities to get around Downtown LA aboard Metro Rail and not having to worry about LA parking at a premium. Overall, the Metrolink experience was positive. The trains ran on time, ticket transactions went smoothly, and the fare media worked with Metro's TAP system and fare gates at the Metro Rail systems. However, I did encounter that infamous #TVMFail hashtag--with a catch--during the course of the trip. That's a topic for another post.

Improving Southwest Riverside County Inter-county Transit

I'm also keeping a close watch on the development pattens taking place along the I-15 corridor through Southwest Riverside County and north San Diego County. The growth has pretty much caused this segment of the northbound lanes of the freeway to become like the 91 with afternoon rush hour backups spanning more than 10 miles during super-peak periods. I'll save that discussion for another post, but I will mention that public transportation options through this area is rush-hour oriented. That means no midday or weekend public transportation links between the two counties except during the summer with the added beach bus trips plus the limited intercity options offered by Greyhound.

A number of major development plans are in the works along the corridor which includes the Meadowood plan in Pala Mesa which would include a college campus, the Jefferson Avenue project in Temecula, and a major hotel expansion at the Pechanga Resort. If these three project plans move forward, public bus transit between these destinations would certainly need to be upgraded to operate all day via an intercounty regional connector route that would run at least one bus hourly each way. The bookends of this route should serve the proposed Twin Cities Transit Center to the north and Oceanside Transit Center to the south with timed transfers to the NCTD Route 388/389 loop to Escondido. That would allow Southwest Riverside County productive all-day access to services along the LOSSAN Rail Corridor. More on that soon.

Talk to you again next week.