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May 21, 2013
NCTD Memorial Day Schedule
Monday, May 27th Holiday Service
In observance of the Memorial Day holiday, all North County Transit District modes will follow the Sunday/Holiday schedule on Monday, May 27. The COASTER will operate eight trains instead of the usual 20 as part of this holiday schedule; four northbound trains and four southbound trains. COASTER connections at Carlsbad Poinsettia and Sorrento Valley stations do not operate on Sundays or on the major holidays, including Memorial Day. SPRINTER trains will operate every 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and hourly before 10 a.m. and after 6 pm. BREEZE buses will also operate on a holiday schedule.
Customer service hours will also follow a holiday schedule on that day. Oceanside Transit Center and Escondido Transit Center will be open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on the holiday. Vista Transit Center customer service will be closed as it is on all holidays. NCTD administrative offices also will be closed Monday, May 27.
Complete schedule information is available at www.gonctd.com/Holiday_Schedule or by calling 760-966-6500, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
May 17, 2013
NCTD and Its Contractors Reach Agreement as SPRINTER Service Resumes
Oceanside - The North County Transit District today executed a supplemental agreement (PDF) with its contractor Veolia Transportation, which coincides with the resumption of service of the SPRINTER light rail commuter service. The agreement provides for the implementation of new procedures for communicating critical information between Veolia, its maintenance subcontractor, Bombardier Transportation, and NCTD, and the early identification of risks within SPRINTER operations and maintenance. In addition, as part of the efforts of NCTD and its contractors to restore service as quickly as possible, Veolia and Bombardier have agreed to contribute to the direct costs relating to the service interruption and resumption.
“This agreement is a demonstration of NCTD’s commitment to providing the highest-quality, safest transportation options to the community. The teamwork between the agency and our private partners during the service interruption allowed us to get our passengers back on board the SPRINTER well ahead of initial projections,” said Supervisor Bill Horn, NCTD Board Chair.
Ron Hartman, CEO of Veolia’s Transit Division said, “We are particularly pleased with the responsiveness of Bombardier, which provided solutions to the brake disc wear problem that allowed service to resume sooner than expected and to the teamwork we have had with NCTD leadership and staff. This agreement is evidence of the strong commitment Veolia and Bombardier have to NCTD’s mission to provide the safest and most efficient transportation service possible.”
May 16, 2013
SPRINTER Returns to Service
Full Service Resumes Saturday, May 18
Oceanside - North County Transit District, its contractor Veolia Transportation, and its sub-contractor Bombardier Transportation are pleased to announce the SPRINTER light rail train will resume full, regularly scheduled service at 4:33 a.m. Saturday, May 18. The SPRINTER will operate on the regular schedule which is posted at GoNCTD.com. The last day of the supplemental express bus service will be Friday, May 24.
The resumption of full service comes following the completion of extensive safety testing, the review of replacement parts, and inspections of the overall vehicle and railroad infrastructure by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The SPRINTER, its signals, and tracks passed all testing with outstanding results and will resume service with vehicles equipped with split disc rotors on the center axles.
An unparalleled commitment to safety is the guiding principle at the transit agency. During the past two months, NCTD, Veolia, and Bombardier worked collaboratively to implement business improvement strategies to strengthen maintenance practices and improve contractor oversight, all ahead of NCTD’s original schedule. The CPUC and FRA reviewed and approved these strategies.
In addition to repairing the vehicles and instituting the maintenance and oversight enhancements, NCTD, Veolia, and Bombardier performed other routine maintenance work on the SPRINTER, which included engine checks, air conditioning system maintenance, graffiti removal, extensive cleaning, replacement of worn seat fabric, and exterior waxing of the vehicles to ensure the SPRINTER returns to service in like-new condition.
‘Blue Crew’ ambassadors will staff SPRINTER stations the first four days of operations to provide assistance and welcome back passengers. On Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 they will be at the stations from 7 – 11 a.m. and 1 – 5 p.m. On Monday, May 20 and Tuesday, May 21 the Blue Crew will be out from 5 – 9 a.m. and 2 – 6 p.m.
The letter from the CPUC clearing the SPRINTER for revenue service and other documentation is available at GoNCTD.com
April 30, 2013
North County Transit District Expands Transit Options for San Diego County Fair
Late COASTER and Discount Tickets Every Day of Fair
Oceanside - North County Transit District (NCTD) and the San Diego County Fair are expanding the transit options for this year’s Fair. For the first time, NCTD will operate a special COASTER that will give passengers a safe, inexpensive late night option to travel between Oceanside and downtown San Diego. The ‘Summer Nite’ train will operate daily from June 8 through July 6. The Fair runs June 8 through July 4, however the transit agency is extending the late train service through Saturday, July 6.
The southbound trip will depart Oceanside at 10:30 p.m., arriving in downtown San Diego at 11:34 p.m. The northbound trip will leave Santa Fe Depot at 11:45 p.m. and arrive in Oceanside at 12:45 a.m. Free shuttles will take passengers directly from the Solana Beach COASTER station—the station closest to the fairgrounds—to the fairgrounds.
Fairgoers will save money and avoid traffic and parking issues by purchasing the ‘Fair Tripper’ combo ticket. The $15 ‘Fair Tripper’ includes roundtrip transportation on COASTER, SPRINTER light rail (if applicable), or BREEZE buses and admission to the Fair – a 40% savings off general admission and full COASTER fare. New this year, the ‘Fair Tripper’ will be available every day of the Fair.
By offering these two late night COASTER trips and the ‘Fair Tripper’ ticket every day of the Fair, NCTD is providing economical, convenient transportation alternatives to fairgoers as well as benefitting the communities surrounding I-5. “The late night train is a responsible, safe, and relaxing way for people to enjoy all the great summer night events at the Fair and everywhere between downtown San Diego and Oceanside. Additionally, reducing traffic congestion and all that entails is always one of the agency’s top priorities,” said NCTD Executive Director Matthew O. Tucker.
‘Fair Tripper’ online sales start May 15 at GoNCTD.com. On June 8, which is opening day of the Fair, through July 4, passengers may make same-day purchases of the ‘Fair Tripper’ ticket at NCTD ticket vending machines and customer service centers.
During the Fair, NCTD will also operate BREEZE Route 408, which offers service from the Escondido Transit Center to the fairgrounds.
In addition to these transit options, the Fair will take $3.50 off admission to any fairgoer who presents a valid, same-day transit ticket, excluding ‘Fair Tripper’ tickets, at the box office.
April 10, 2013
April 20 and 21 COASTER Service Suspension
BREEZE Service Available During This Time
On April 20 and 21, North County Transit District’s COASTER commuter rail service, Amtrak, and BNSF freight will not be running, and customers are urged to plan in advance to take other forms of transit those days. NCTD recommends taking BREEZE Route 101 for coastal connections during this scheduled absolute work window (AWW).
From 1a.m. on Saturday, April 20, until 4:30 a.m. on Monday, April 22, the coastal rail corridor—the track on which the COASTER travels—will be shut down for rail upgrades. The shutdown coincides with an AWW, or period of time during which designated tracks are not available for train movements due to construction activities on or around the tracks. During the shutdown and associated construction, construction equipment will produce moderate noise.
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) will install equipment on the Washington and Tecolote crossovers, or rail segments that allow trains to cross from one track to another, in San Diego. SANDAG will also install a crossover in the Sorrento Valley area. NCTD will take advantage of the rail closure to complete other rail maintenance work in the cities of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, and San Diego.
The rail will re-open for regularly scheduled COASTER service on the morning of Monday, April 22.
April 9, 2013
NCTD Orders Full Set of Replacement Rotors
Split Disc Order Placed Ahead of Schedule
Oceanside – North County Transit District placed an order yesterday for a complete set of split disc rotors for the entire SPRINTER fleet. The replacement rotors are scheduled to be delivered from the European manufacturer by the end of April. Originally, NCTD anticipated the order would be placed in May however; the repair and testing process is proceeding ahead of schedule.
NCTD began testing Sunday on one set of the 100g split disc rotors to determine if they are adequate substitutes for the original rotors which exhibited premature and irregular wear. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) found the irregular wear patterns on the non-powered center axles during an inspection in late February. NCTD took the SPRINTER out of service March 9.
Kovis, D.O.O. a Slovenia-based manufacturer that specializes in making metal products for railway vehicles is making the split discs. Yesterday’s order includes discs for all 12 vehicles in the fleet as well as spares. In total, NCTD will have 130 split discs in stock; 96 to outfit the SPRINTER fleet and 34 spares.
NCTD, its contractor, Veolia and sub-contractor, Bombardier began the testing process with AW0 brake testing on one SPRINTER vehicle. The testing, which is being observed by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the CPUC, is taking place on the rail between Escondido and San Marcos. An AW0 test is performed on an empty vehicle at speeds of 20, 25, 35, 45, and 50 mph. On each test run temperature of the rotors and stopping distance is measured and the rotors are visually inspected for heat and stress. The data is recorded, analyzed, and compared against requirements. All measurements were well within requirements and the visual inspections showed no signs of stress, distortion or wear. The successful testing allowed NCTD to move forward with the order for the full set of split disc rotors.
Other testing includes; an AW3 test with 44,000 lbs. of filled sand bags on board to simulate 178 seated passengers and 100 standing passengers, AW2 testing with 22,000 lbs. of weight on board to simulate 178 passengers which is the SPRINTER’s full seating capacity. Overall there will be 124 tests run over a 24-day period. There will be additional testing at the behest of NCTD to simulate normal operating conditions over a 30 to 45 day period. Additionally, NCTD will put in place an aggressive maintenance and observation program for the lifetime of the rotors, which is expected to be approximately five years of service.
While the repair process is moving swiftly and efficiently, NCTD still cannot set a date to resume SPRINTER service due to vagaries in manufacturing and shipping times, extensive testing requirements, and other variables. Once the complete set of rotors has arrived in Oceanside the agency will set and announce a re-launch date for the SPRINTER.
April 8, 2013
Temporary Bus Replacement Service Costlier than SPRINTER - Published News Reports in Error
Oceanside –The cost of the temporary replacement bus service put in place when the agency sidelined the SPRINTER March 9 is over 40% more expensive than SPRINTER rail operations. A North County Transit District presentation at the April 4 Board of Directors meeting compared the costs and service levels associated with the replacement bus service to SPRINTER service in the wake of a U-T San Diego story, (“Sprinter shutdown may be saving money,” March 17, by Chris Nichols, http://bit.ly/Z3WC7e) that incorrectly asserted replacement bus service is ‘about half the rail line’s operating budget.’
The correct data shows that for the period of March 9 – April 11, 2013 the cost to operate the SPRINTER would have been $584,552. The cost for the same 34-day period to operate the supplemental bus routes 618, 620 and 640 is $827,031 or 41% more than SPRINTER costs. At the time the U-T San Diego article was published route 640 did not exist however, the cost associated with that small route is only $3,008.
In addition to being 41% more expensive than the SPRINTER, NCTD points out that temporary replacement bus service cannot provide a comparable level of service; the buses provide less capacity, ease of connections, and poorer on-time performance than the SPRINTER.
The number of boardings on the supplemental buses is much lower than on the SPRINTER and the cost per boarding is a whopping 278% higher than the cost per boarding on the SPRINTER.
“It is important for our passengers, taxpayers, and the community to have the facts. The numbers are indisputable; temporary bus replacement service costs are far more expensive than SPRINTER rail operations, and bus service cannot duplicate the capacity and on-time performance the SPRINTER provides. Additionally, the SPRINTER is providing economic development opportunities and transportation benefits to North County and will continue to do so when it resumes service,” said Matthew Tucker, NCTD Executive Director.
April 5, 2013
NCTD’s SPRINTER Maintenance Well-Funded - Agency Refutes Allegations with Facts
Oceanside – North County Transit District wants to assure customers, taxpayers, and regional transit partners, that funding for the maintenance of the SPRINTER light rail system was never cut, diverted, or otherwise shorted.
In fact, since the inception of SPRINTER service in 2008, NCTD has spent more than $9.57 million in maintenance. This year alone, more than $1.98 million in maintenance cost will be paid. This includes unbudgeted SPRINTER maintenance costs for a vehicle wash and upholstery fabric totaling $250,000.
While our focus is taking care of our customers and returning the SPRINTER to normal operations, NCTD must respond to recent media reports that have included speculative and factually incorrect information regarding NCTD’s capital funding program. NCTD is releasing a fact sheet that addresses the SPRINTER maintenance funding.
NCTD is on solid financial footing in terms of both our operating and our capital budgets. Over the last few years, NCTD has reduced operating costs, decreased fares, and increased service to meet customer expectations. As a result, our operating revenue and ridership has increased since the national economic downturn.
The agency has a contingency of $5.5 million in the fiscal year 2013 budget that has not been tapped and has another $15 million in a restricted reserve fund account. The cost of maintenance parts to return the SPRINTER to operations is approximately $345,000. Given NCTD’s financial health, the only reason the SPRINTER was taken out of service was that the maintenance problem was never recorded on inspection forms and the parts were never asked for by the responsible parties.
Complete SPRINTER-ruption service information is available on the NCTD web site and for those interested in following the progress NCTD is making to restore service, follow the blog at: http://www.gonctd.com/sprinter
April 5, 2013
SPRINTER Express Schedule Adjustments - NCTD Responds to Passenger Feedback
Oceanside – SPRINTER Express schedules for routes 618 and 620 will be modified beginning Friday, April 12. The new schedules include earlier start times and more frequent service throughout the week. Additionally, SPRINTER Express 620 will be fully serviced by NCTD buses operated by First Transit beginning April 12. Currently, motor coaches serve that route on weekdays.
Starting Monday April 8, NCTD will commence service on SPRINTER Express 640 which will connect the Nordahl Rd. SPRINTER station with CSUSM/Craven Circle. This route will operate Monday- Friday from 7:05 a.m.-7:03 p.m. View complete schedule information.
April 5, 2013
Testing Begins on Replacement Rotors - SPRINTER will be on rails Sunday - Thursday
Oceanside – The public may see the SPRINTER operating starting Sunday, April 7. The train will be on the rails to test replacement brake parts. North County Transit District and its contractors are installing one set of split disc rotors on a SPRINTER vehicle. The 100g split discs must then be tested to determine if they are suitable replacements for the original rotors which wore out prematurely forcing the agency to suspend the light rail service on March 9. The split disc rotors arrived at NCTD Thursday, April 3. Crews, observed by regulators from the Federal Railroad Administration and California Public Utilities Commission, began removing the original rotors and installing the eight new rotors.
Testing of the SPRINTER will take place Sunday – Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. between Escondido Transit Center and Woodland Pkwy., San Marcos.
The agency advises the public to use caution at grade crossings which will be operational for the first time since last month. NCTD also reminds people that it is illegal to be in the right-of-way.
April 5, 2013
Ride COASTER to Padres Games
Oceanside – North County Transit District wants to help fans root for the home team without having to contend with traffic delays or parking fees. NCTD is offering additional service in conjunction with San Diego Padres home games. The home opener is Tuesday, April 9. To meet strong opening day demand, NCTD will have additional staff on the platforms to assist customers.
To ensure fans arrive at PETCO Park in plenty of time for 3:40 p.m. game times, the Padres COASTER will depart Oceanside Transit Center at 1:51 p.m. and arrive at Santa Fe Depot at 2:50 p.m. Passengers may then ride the San Diego Trolley to the stadium. Northbound trains will leave downtown San Diego 50 minutes after the end of the game or fireworks show. NCTD encourages passengers to purchase $12 RegionPlus Day Passes which include round trip COASTER and MTS Trolley fare. The day passes are valid only on day of purchase and are sold at ticket vending machines, bus fare boxes, and NCTD customer service centers.
Due to the popularity of opening day, NCTD is encouraging fans to avoid the rush in two ways; purchase round trip tickets online at GoNCTD.com/eticket and consider taking one of the earlier southbound trains. Complete COASTER schedule information is available at GoNCTD.com and complete details on getting to PETCO Park can be found at GoNCTD.com/Padres2013.
March 28, 2013
CSUSM SPRINTER Express Service
New Route 640 Connection from Nordahl SPRINTER Station to Craven Circle
Service Begins: Monday, April 8 Hours/Days: 7:05 a.m.-7:03 p.m., M-F
Pick up/drop-off locations:
Nordahl Rd. SPRINTER Station. Same location as BREEZE Route 305 – on Mission Rd. in front of station.
CSUSM: Craven Circle/CSUSM. Same as Route 620 SPRINTER Express.
Type of vehicle used:
Van or Taxi. All vehicles will have an NCTD placard and Route 640 placard in window.
Same as Route 620 SPRINTER Express – Passengers may pay fares on Route 640 CSUSM/SPRINTER Express by presenting passes such as Compass Cards loaded with regional passes and SPRINTER/BREEZE day passes or by purchasing SPRINTER single ride tickets at ticket vending machines (TVMs). Cash will not be accepted nor will any passes or tickets be sold on board this route.
March 26, 2013
Rail Safety Upgrades Underway Construction to last through December 2013
Fiber Optics Installation Continues
Oceanside – North County Transit District reminds residents in the cities of Carlsbad and Del Mar, followed by the remaining coastal communities between Oceanside and Old Town in San Diego that starting this week and continuing through the summer, they may notice the ongoing construction of the North County Transit District’s Positive Train Control (PTC) system. While the work began in January, the onset of warmer weather and open windows may make the work more noticeable to residents along the rail corridor. In addition to the work crews, residents may hear the horns from trains as they enter the immediate work zones. Under federal rail regulations, train engineers are required to sound the horns when roadway workers, trespassers, animals or objects are in the rail right-of-way.
NCTD will have as many as three work crews in the right-of-way along the entire length of the work zone with up to eight people in each crew. The crews will be moving non-contiguously, from one area to another as rail segments become available.
Crews will work Mondays through Fridays from approximately 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. until the end of the summer installing conduit and pulling fiber optic cable through the conduit adjacent to the railroad tracks and in the rail right-of-way. Crews may access certain residential areas and business driveways and gateways in order to move equipment to and from the work sites.
PTC was mandated by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and requires fully-functional PTC systems to be in place on trains, such as the COASTER, by December 31, 2015.
PTC technology is designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, derailments due to excessive speeds, and casualties or injuries to roadway workers. It uses digital communications systems, global positioning system (GPS) technology, and on-board computers with track databases to continuously monitor train location and speed. PTC is integrated with railroad dispatching systems to manage train traffic.
NCTD received federal, state, and local funding for the $87,292,969 project. For additional information on the current construction projects please contact NCTD’s dedicated PTC Construction line at 760-967-2855. To learn more about PTC, visit PTC project update.
March 20, 2013
Maintenance Work on SPRINTER Tracks
During the SPRINTER-ruption, North County Transit District will perform rail maintenance in three segments of the railroad tracks. The work will start March 20 and conclude March 29 and will take place between the Crouch Street and the Rancho Del Oro stations, between the Melrose station and North Avenue, and between the San Marcos Civic Center and the Cal State San Marcos stations.
Work is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. The work will not take place on Saturday, March 23 or Sunday, March 24. Increased levels of noise during work hours are expected due to the surfacing of the tracks and the associated noise from construction equipment. The maintenance work will not disrupt freight rail service.
What: Track surfacing maintenance
When: March 20 - 22 and March 25 - 29, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Adjacent to the railroad tracks in three locations:
What to expect: Moderate noise from medium sized construction equipment
NCTD Construction Hotline: 760-435-7277
March 18, 2013
SPRINTER Supplemental Bus Service Fare Update
Fares will be collected on 620 SPRINTER Express
Oceanside – Effective immediately, fares will be collected on the 620 SPRINTER Express route, one of two supplemental bus routes implemented in the wake of the interruption of SPRINTER service. Fare collection has been routine from the inception of the 618 SPRINTER Express route which is served by North County Transit District (NCTD) buses equipped with fare boxes. However, the motor coaches serving the 620 SPRINTER Express route are not equipped with fare boxes. Now that passengers have had time to adjust to the supplemental bus service, NCTD is collecting fare payment on this route through two non-cash methods.
Passengers may pay fares on Route 620 SPRINTER Express by presenting passes such as Compass Cards loaded with regional passes and SPRINTER/BREEZE day passes or by purchasing SPRINTER single ride tickets at ticket vending machines (TVMs). Cash will not be accepted nor will any passes or tickets be sold on board this route. Passengers are encouraged to allow extra time to purchase the appropriate fare for the 620 SPRINTER Express. Passengers may purchase passes on any BREEZE bus for use on the 620 SPRINTER Express.
Fare payment methods accepted on Route 618 SPRINTER Express are the same as on any BREEZE bus; cash inserted into the fare box or by showing the driver a valid pass. For detailed fare information customers may visit Breeze Fares and Passes.
March 15, 2013
North County Transit District Stresses Safety Around Rail Tracks
North County Transit District reminds all parents and the public in general that railroad tracks are extremely dangerous areas and at no time should children play on or around the tracks or right-of-ways. With schools out for spring break and warm weather imminent, it is likely more children will be playing out of doors.
NCTD strongly encourages all parents to discuss rail safety with their children, including teenagers. It is illegal to walk across or be in the railroad right-of-way. In some areas, these federally-protected areas may be as narrow as 50 feet from the tracks. It is also illegal to place any debris or objects on the tracks. The LOSSAN Rail Corridor which includes San Diego County is the second busiest intercity rail corridor in the United States. Approximately 50 trains operate each weekday between Oceanside and downtown San Diego.
Safety Facts and Tips:
For more information on rail safety visit the Operation Lifesaver site.
January 23, 2013
Fiscal Cliff Law Boosts Transit Tax
Businesses and Commuters See Big Increase
The recently passed fiscal cliff legislation includes a major bonus for riders of public transit and their employers. The legislation nearly doubles the increase in the transit commuter tax benefit from $125 a month to $245 a month. For 2013, the new law allows transit users to receive up to $245 a month, from employers, as a non-taxable fringe benefit, or allows employees to set aside up to that amount as a pre-tax benefit for commuting to work on public transportation. The amount for 2012 was raised to $240.
“This increase means employees can now pay for any regional fare entirely with pre-tax dollars. And, employers who participate in the subsidized transit pass program will also recoup more of their investments. It also benefits the community by offering commuters an incentive to park their cars and choose public transit,” said Supervisor Bill Horn, NCTD Board Chairman.
Detailed information for commuters and businesses is available through SANDAG’s iCommute program which can be reached by dialing 511 toll-free from any phone and saying “iCommute” or at www.511sd.com/iCommute.
January 11, 2013
Federally Mandated Safety Project Necessitates Construction Work
Fiber Optics Installation to Begin January 15
North County Transit District is leading the way in complying with the life-saving Positive Train Control Project (PTC). PTC was mandated by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and requires fully-functional PTC systems to be in place on railroads, such as the COASTER, by December 31, 2015. NCTD is installing sophisticated systems on all COASTER trains, along the wayside, and in the control office. In order to install PTC equipment, construction crews will be installing fiber optic cables along and under the railroad tracks as well as installing the related transmission equipment.
The second phase of this work will begin Tuesday, January 15 and will encompass the areas between the Oceanside Transit Center and the Old Town Station, (from milepost 226.4 to 264.2). The specific work area commencing Tuesday will be from the Miramar Wye near the intersection of Miramar Rd. and Frost-Mar Pl. to Santa Fe St and E St adjacent to the Rose Canyon Bicycle Path. Crews will work Monday – Friday from approximately 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Residents and businesses in these areas may see as many as nine work crews in the area – the large number of crews will facilitate completing the work in as short a time as possible. Crews may access certain residential areas and business driveways and gateways in order to move equipment to and from the work sites.
PTC is GPS-based technology that can prevent train-to-train collisions, speeding, over speed derailments, and incursions into work zones. It is a proactive system that stops a train before a potential collision or accident occurs. For additional information on the current construction projects please contact NCTD’s dedicated PTC Construction line at 760-967-2855. To learn more about PTC visit PTC project update.