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Chargers bus reinstated

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    The Bolt Bus is back, but not until after Monday's match up with the New York Jets.

    With a unanimous vote, transit directors reinstated special service for San Diego Chargers games starting with the Oct. 12 showdown with the New England Patriots. Transit directors showed much less agreement in approving a pilot program that will soon begin charging for some kinds of parking at three North County Coaster stations.

    But the Chargers bus vote was quick and gleeful.

    "I'll move approval as long as I get tickets for the Broncos game," quipped Oceanside Councilman Rocky Chavez, who represents the city on the transit board.

    A new federal rule forced the transit district to cease operating its popular Chargers service, which collected fans at numerous pick-up points along interstates 5 and 15 and delivered them, via a special bus-only entrance, to Qualcomm Stadium's capacious parking lot.

    Tom Lichterman, director of operations for the district, said private companies that initially said they wanted to provide Chargers charter service backed away from the idea after the season started. The district called federal rail regulators and asked for permission to resume the service.

    "They said you are free to operate the service for the remainder of the season," Lichterman said.

    Not counting Monday's tussle with Brett Favre and company, six Chargers home games remain in 2008. Lichterman said bus service will be available for all but one of those games. There will be no bus service to the Dec. 4 game against the Oakland Raiders.

    "On weekdays, the buses are all busy carrying riders, so we cannot serve that game," Lichterman said.

    When the feds forced the district to put the Bolt Bus on hiatus, the transit district instituted a similar service on its Coaster commuter trains. That service will be discontinued after Monday's game. A district report on the service indicated that the Coaster service was not nearly as popular with riders because many found the need to transfer to the San Diego Trolley at the Coaster's Old Town Station cumbersome.

    "There were some problems," Lichterman said.

    Some transit board members had problems with a parking plan ---- approved on a 5-4 vote ---- for three Coaster parking lots.

    As part of a three-month trial run, the district, working with the San Diego Association of Governments and CalTrans, will begin charging for parking in dedicated Coaster lots if the drivers do not ride the coastal commuter train, which carries riders between Oceanside to San Diego. The program will also sell preferred parking to Coaster riders who are willing to pay extra for the assurance of having a spot waiting when they need to catch a train. There will also be an additional fee for riders who want to leave their vehicles in a Coaster parking lot overnight.

    Solana Beach Councilman Dave Roberts worried that the move to charge non-Coaster riders for parking would have unintended consequences.

    "This is going to send these people into the neighborhoods," Roberts said.

    But Encinitas Councilman Jerome Stocks countered that the board has a fail-safe lever to pull when the three-month trial period runs out.

    "If it's really negative, we can kill it," Stocks said.

    The Carlsbad Village and Poinsettia stations, and the Encinitas station on Vulcan Avenue, will be the first to adopt the new parking plan. If the board likes the results, the plan will be extended to stations in Oceanside, Solana Beach and Sorrento Valley.

    Carlsbad Councilwoman Julianne Nygaard steered her colleagues back to the central mission of new parking regulations.

    "We're trying to get Coaster riders a parking spot so they can get on the train and go," Nygaard said.

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