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New Transportation Link for Mid-City

Times Staff Writer

Residents of a San Diego’s Mid-City neighborhood have a new, inexpensive link to the rest the city as the result of a program that is already being successfully used in two other parts of San Diego.

The program links the San Diego Transit Corp. and a privately owned and operated cab company.

The rolling hills and deep canyons of the Mid-City area make it difficult for San Diego Transit to provide service to residents.

The Dart taxi-transit service, which began operations this week, is designed to end that problem. The service uses independent taxis from the American Paratransit Service to bring residents to bus stops for a nominal fee. It is available to anyone requiring service within the area bounded by Landis Street, California Highway 94, 30th Street and 54th Street. While being used in the service, the taxis display a Dart sign.

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Councilwoman Gloria McColl said she has been seeking a taxi feeder system for the area since she took office two years ago. According to McColl, about 27% of San Diego’s senior citizens live in the Mid-City area, and many of them are forced to remain at home because they can’t make it to the bus stop.

The Dart taxi service picks patrons up at their homes and drops them off at bus stops along Routes 2 and 6, which runs mainly along Redwood Street; Route 7 along University Avenue, and Route 13 on Fairmount Avenue. The $1 transit fee covers both the bus and cab fare. Mid-City senior citizens and handicapped residents receive a discount, cutting their cost to 40 cents.

McColl hopes the taxi feeder service will eventually be expanded to serve the rest of the Mid-City area.

So far, the federally subsidized partnership between San Diego Transit and the privately operated American Paratransit Service has proven successful in Paradise Hills and Mira Mesa, where taxi cabs have been transporting citizens to bus stops for more than two years.

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The Paradise Hills program, the first of its kind in the nation and the oldest of the three San Diego taxi feeder programs, generated $16,206 in revenue last year, while its operating costs exceeded $60,000. Federal funding for the Paradise Hills program expired last year, and transit officials expect the Mira Mesa program to exhaust its federal funding within the next six months.

San Diego Transit picks up the Paradise Hills operating bill and expects to do the same for Mira Mesa.


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