Saturday, July 13, 2024

All Aboard – Coronado’s Free Summer Shuttle Has Launched

City Manager Tina Friend, along with City Council Members John Duncan and Mike Donovan, and representatives from MTS, Discover Coronado and the City pose for the launch of the Free Summer Shuttle.

The City of Coronado’s 2024 Free Summer Shuttle bus program began service on Monday, July 1 at 9am, immediately following the launch event hosted by the city. Coronado City Manager Tina Friend kicked off the event saying, “The Free Summer Shuttle program has been operating for 11 years and provides a vital way to link our city and get cars off the road. Today marks the first day of service and it will run through Labor Day. On the Fourth of July we will also run a special service down to the Cays.”

Friend recognized the organizations that support this program saying, “We have a lot of partnerships that make this [program] happen, we have MTS, our bus provider along with their wonderful bus drivers. Thank you to Discover Coronado who brings the beautiful wrap to the bus, making it a very festive, eye catching iconic bus driving around our town. This is possible because of everyone coming together to bring this service to our town.”

City Manager Tina Friend (left) takes the microphone back from the CEO of MTS, Sharon Cooney.

Discover Coronado Chairperson and General Manager for Coronado Island Marriott Resort and Spa, Jonathan Litvak, spoke about the benefits of the free summer shuttle for local businesses. He talked of the benefits for Coronado hotel guests that can discover Coronado without having to worry about parking or transportation costs during their visit to Coronado. “For our local businesses the Free Summer Shuttle helps to evenly distribute customers across the island, so each Coronado business within our district can benefit and continue to thrive… Discover Coronado has been a co-sponsor for the summer shuttle [in part] because it helps reduce fuel consumption. We thank the city for investing in this program that keeps Coronado accessible, sustainable and fun to discover.”

Sharon Cooney, CEO of MTS spoke of the benefits of the program keeping congestion off the roads of Coronado. She shared that about 800 patrons a day rode this shuttle in the past and that keeps up to 800 vehicles off the road.

The route is displayed in the shuttle along with a QR code that brings users to information on the Free Summer Shuttle.

The Free Summer Shuttle buses will run along the existing 904 bus route around the Village area of Coronado seven days a week. The buses operate in 15-minute intervals from 9 am to 8 pm. The Summer Shuttle service to the Cays community on July 4 will run from 7:30 am to 11:00 pm in 30-minute intervals from the northeast corner of Coronado Cays and Grand Caribe to the southerly corner of Avenue De Las Arenas and Silver Strand Boulevard. The public can find more information and the MTS bus route and map on the City’s website.

Emerald Keepers trying out the Island Express, a free electric mini-shuttle pilot program the city launched June 4th. Photo screen capture from Emerald Keeper’s Facebook post.

The Free Summer Shuttle joins the Island Express as another means of free public transportation for Coronado residents and visitors. The Island Express mini-shuttle pilot program launched on June 4 and is a door to door on-demand shuttle provided by Circuit Transportation. According to the city, Island Express has six electric five-passenger vehicles providing service to the Village and two electric 10-passenger vans serving the Cays. Riders must be at least 16 years old unless accompanied by an adult. The goal of the pilot program is to test the effectiveness of the service to aid in future planning.

John Duncan brought the Island Express up with the City Council as a an additional resource for the community and a means to reduce the carbon footprint in Coronado. (Photo courtesy of Emerald Keepers Facebook page)

City Manager Tina Friend shared that this is a very important summer for the Free Summer Shuttle. Last year ridership numbers were down, but they didn’t know if it was a reporting error or if the usage is declining. Friend said the city is very interested in understanding if the return on investment of the Free Summer Shuttle program makes it worth continuing in future years. While the Free Summer Shuttle is a set route from City Hall to Ferry Landing, the Island Express is a door to door service that is being studied to determine if it is worth investing in as well. City Council Member John Duncan brought a request earlier this year to consider bringing the Island Express to Coronado as a way to support the community transportation needs that also helps with the city’s carbon action plan.

A Coronado Happenings Facebook post about the Island Express electric shuttle service launched June 4th. Screen capture from Coronado Happenings group.


Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie is a retired Naval Aviator and Public Affairs Officer whose post-Navy career includes freelance writing, PR Consulting and a two year stint as the San Diego Padres Military Affairs Advisor. Having been stationed in various parts of the country including Washington D.C., Florida and Hawaii, Jeannie appreciates how amazing the Coronado community is and loves the experience her children have had growing up here. Jeannie earned her BS in Marine Biology from Auburn University, her MS in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego and her MA in Communication and Media Relations at San Diego State University. A life-long learner and avid traveler Jeannie enjoys writing travel pieces, Navy stories and anything else that will broaden her perspective. When she is not working you will find her watching her boys play sports, walking Odin at dog beach, hiking, playing beach volleyball or spending time with the family.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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