Submitted by Daron A. Case, Esq.
Honorable Mayor & Council,
Please remove item 5c (free summer shuttle program) from the consent calendar for this afternoon’s City Council meeting for a discussion of summer shuttle options for the Coronado Cays.
Please see petition signed by 250+ residents requesting summer shuttle service to the Coronado Cays: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/free-summer-shuttle-service-for-cays
In previous years of the City’s free summer shuttle program there has been summer shuttle service to the Cays in different formats. The summer shuttle service to Cays was discontinued in 2018 citing low ridership and conversely a high cost per ride. Please note it is unreasonable to compare ridership from the Coronado Cays to ridership in town as there are substantially fewer residents in the Cays vs. Village and no tourists in Cays. In 2019 the City disbursed MTS public bus vouchers to the CCHOA for use by Cays residents. Please note the public bus that runs from San Ysidro to downtown San Diego is not a summer shuttle. Cays residents are requesting summer shuttle service.
The last time the City offered a form of summer shuttle service to Cays was in 2017 when the City and Loews cooperated for “Loews Resort Curbside Service,” where a golf cart would pick up Cays residents curbside at their homes and drop them off at the Loews shuttle. The cost of this program was only around $9K to the City. Cays residents enjoyed the curbside service. Last year in 2019 the City Council directed staff to research what City Manager Mr. King called a “hybrid Loews option” (which might be similar to the Loews Resort Curbside Service of 2017) and report back. There was no subsequent report back from staff regarding the hybrid Loews option in 2019, and no hybrid Loews option appears in the budget on agenda item 5c for today’s City Council meeting.
A concept that has been proposed by residents in previous years is to take one of the 4 summer shuttle buses that run the loop from Marriott to City Hall and have it run to Cays. This should in theory not increase the cost of the program substantially as it would not require additional buses, but would only modify the route of one of the 4 buses. If such a route modification for one of the 4 buses is not possible, then please examine the “hybrid Loews option” which was very affordable at only around $9K in 2017.
The bottom line is City Council can vote to include the Cays in a summer shuttle program or they can exclude the Cays from the City’s annual program that is subsidized by Coronado Cays taxpayers. This is more about “inclusion” than ridership or cost per ride. There is an election coming up this November, and 3 Council seats are up for grabs. It would be a very cost effective way to please thousands of your constituents in the Cays to include the Cays in a summer shuttle program. Conversely, you could lose many votes from the Cays by excluding the Cays from the summer shuttle program, essentially disenfranchising Cays residents from a program they are subsidizing.
Lastly, a quick note to Councilman Heinze, who advertised to Cays residents in his 2018 campaign that he was the only Cays resident running for Council. Cays residents are counting on you, Mr. Heinze, to aggressively advocate for a form of free summer shuttle service to the Cays this year. We eagerly look forward to your advocacy at the Council meeting this afternoon.
Daron A. Case, Esq.