ESCONDIDO–A community celebration marked the official launch Tuesday of the Escondido BREEZE Rapid bus service, a new type of system that uses special features and technology to quickly and reliably move passengers.
“This is an important day for our region,” SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks said. “We are deploying a new system. These types of routes will soon crisscross the county, using the latest technology and design features to quickly carry passengers – and giving travelers a viable alternative to the car.”
The project is essentially a $4 million upgrade to the existing BREEZE Rapid Route 350, making it a more convenient, rapid, and reliable route. The first fully deployed Rapid Bus project in the region, it is a collaboration between the San Diego Association of Governments, the North County Transit District (NCTD), and the City of Escondido.
Amenities on the new system include new benches, bus shelters, and digital message signs that indicate the arrival time for the next bus. Many of the new shelters are lighted using solar power.
BREEZE Rapid buses also have a new look. They still sport the BREEZE blue, white, and teal colors, but these buses have a unique design so riders can easily identify them as they approach.
To reduce travel time, bus stops along the route have been consolidated from 31 to 25. A dedicated bus lane has been built along West Valley Parkway, and technology has been installed at intersections and inside the vehicles so buses running behind schedule can use traffic signal priority to quickly get through intersections. Together, these upgrades can save up to six minutes – cutting 16 percent from the previous time – on a one-way trip.
The six-mile route serves the Escondido Transit Center, the downtown business community, Bear Valley Parkway, Westfield North County Shopping Mall, and the Del Lago Transit Station. The route also connects to regional services, such as the SPRINTER, Interstate 15 Express Buses, and the future I-15 Bus Rapid Transit system.