California’s North County Transit District celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Sprinter hybrid light rail commuter system March 9.
Launched in 2008, the Siemens Desiro DMU-powered married pairs ply an east/west route in North County serving 15 stations along the 22-mile San Diego Northern Railroad line from Escondido to Oceanside. The service has provided more than 23 million trips over the 10-year period, according to NCTD.
“Anyone traveling along the Sprinter rail corridor within the City of San Marcos can see the positive impact that the Sprinter has had in supporting smart growth,” said NCTD Board Chair Rebecca Jones. “As the Chair of NCTD’s Board of Directors, I want to thank our customers, employees, elected officials, and key stakeholders that supported the initial planning and construction and the daily operations of the Sprinter.”
The cost for construction of the Sprinter, including the construction of its maintenance facility and vehicles, totaled $477 million. The Sprinter has an annual ridership of 2.5 million with an average weekday ridership of 8,400. Level boarding at each station makes it fully ADA-accessible.
“March 9, 2008 was a seminal moment in the history of NCTD. It marked the return of passenger travel from Oceanside to Escondido and began the economic development for the cities along the Highway 78 corridor. College students attending CSUSM, Palomar College, and Mira Costa College find it to be a blessing in convenience and transportation savings,” said NCTD Board Member Ed Gallo. “As Board Chairman at the time, I praised the foresight of NCTD in completing the much needed additional transportation option.”
“We are proud of the SPRINTER’s decade-long success,” said SANDAG Vice-Chair and Mayor of Poway Steve Vaus. “SANDAG is honored to have been a part of the creation of this transportation option for commuters traveling across the State Route 78 corridor.”
To celebrate the anniversary, NCTD will host pop-up events at Sprinter stations throughout the year. These events will be a way for the community to meet some of the NCTD staff and learn more about the Sprinter while encouraging new ridership and supporting current patrons.