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Trolley Green Line closes gap in San Diego system

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If a person living in La Mesa, El Cajon, or Santee wished to take the trolley to Qualcomm stadium or Fashion Valley, it would mean a trip through downtown San Diego, a more than 5 minute wait at a transfer station and an additional 10 to 15 minute ride. That is until this past July when the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) opened its Green Line to the public.

Photo: Metropolitan Transit System One of the trolley stops along the Metropolitan Transit System's new Green Line is at San Diego State University's new underground station.

The line closes a 5.9-gap from the Grossmont Center station to the Mission San Diego station. Now, a trip to Qualcomm stadium from Grossmont Center goes through four other stops, whereas before passengers would go through at least 15.

The Green Line project cost $506 million, and is aimed at providing San Diegans with increased mobility within the Interstate 8 corridor.

As one of four new stops along the extension, the San Diego State University underground trolley station is the first subterranean trolley station and tunnel in San Diego. It is projected that more than 4,300 students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus will use the SDSU station each day.

San Diego-based Cubic Corp. will provide a new automated fare collection system for the trolley.

"We worked closely with MTS to define a system that emphasizes convenience, is simple to learn how to use and operate, and has the special features necessary to assist a diverse population," said Richard Efland, president and chief executive officer of Cubic Transportation Systems Inc, in a statement.

The features include "easy-to-follow" menu screens to walk customers step-by-step through ticket purchase, with instructions in English or Spanish, in addition to audio and Braille navigation for the hearing and visually impaired.

While the machines initially will be configured for cash payment, they are ready to support the future introduction of credit/debit card and contactless smart card payment.

The other new stops along the extension are Grantville station, Alavardo Medical Center and 70th Street station. All new stations have a selection of site-specific public art.

The Green Line also will show off new trolleys that are expected to generate more than 11,000 new trips a day. The project is also projected to attract more 2.5 million new annual transit riders in the region as a result of improved transit connectivity.

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