An MTS trolley in downtown San Diego. Courtesy MTS
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System will commemorate the Trolley’s 40th anniversary with a community celebration open to the public.
The free event at the E Street Trolley Station in Chula Vista will celebrate North America’s first modern light rail system. Attendees can enjoy vintage trolley tours, ’80s music, break dancers, free food and family activities, including a blow-up obstacle course for kids and face painting. The event will also feature remarks from elected officials, local businesses, a long-time Trolley rider, and community leaders.
The MTS Trolley was launched in July 1981. The four-line, 54.3-mile system served more than 32 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2019.
“It’s the millions of Trolley riders who have made this one of the most successful transportation projects in the United States,” said Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, MTS Board vice chair and mayor of National City. “This celebration is for the people who have made the Trolley successful for four decades.”
Over the past 40 years, MTS officials said the Trolley has been instrumental in San Diego’s economic growth by supporting transportation and its direct effect on jobs, capital spending, tourism, the environment and real estate development. It has also played a significant role in the success of the San Diego Convention Center, Comic-Con, and major sporting events including Super Bowls, Holiday Bowls, San Diego Padres games and concerts at Qualcomm Stadium and Petco Park.
Much of the Trolley’s success has been due to the link it provides for workers living in Mexico with employers in San Diego, with about 19,000 Trolley and bus trips serving the border daily. As an essential part of the busiest land-border crossing in the Western Hemisphere, MTS serves more than one-half of all individuals crossing the border in San Ysidro.
“Tijuana and San Diego are inherently linked, and the Trolley provides a vital connection between the two regions,” said Sharon Cooney, MTS CEO. “The Trolley brings families together, creates access to jobs, and provides educational opportunities.”
The Trolley runs on three main lines — Blue, Orange and Green — with 54 stations.