App-based shuttle service comes to North County

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Using public transit has just become easier. The Carlsbad Connector, an on-demand shuttle service that transports commuters between the Carlsbad Poinsettia COASTER Station and workplaces in Carlsbad, officially launched Monday.

It is the first service of its kind in San Diego County. The goal is to increase COASTER ridership by providing a flexible and convenient option for commuters.

The connector will transport commuters from the Carlsbad Poinsettia station to nearby employment centers.

The project is operated by a partnership with the City of Carlsbad, North County Transit District (NCTD) and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).

The Carlsbad Connector functions via a smartphone app, similar to ride-hailing service apps.  Commuters can book trips on 12-passenger vans that will shuttle them between the Poinsettia COASTER station and business parks near Palomar McClellan Airport and along Avenida Encinas.

Employees will be dropped off within a short walk from their destination. The app is available for both iPhone and Android users.

Commuters who cannot access the app through a smartphone can book a ride by calling 760-407-6080.

“We are delighted to offer commuters an easy and affordable option to book Carlsbad Connector service and get away from having to drive to work alone every day,” said Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall.

The shuttles will service commuters from the Poinsettia COASTER station from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.

To accommodate lunchtime transportation, Carlsbad Connector will also provide service from noon to 3 p.m. from employment centers to local restaurants.

COASTER monthly pass holders and those with a valid RegionPlus or COASTER Regional day pass will ride for free.

One-way rides are $2.50 or $1.25 with a valid SDM (Senior, Disabled, Medicare) card for riders without one of these passes. Employers may coordinate with RideCo to cover the cost of employee trips.

“Carlsbad is a major employment center in San Diego County, and the COASTER provides a convenient transportation option for employees who live outside the area,” said NCTD Board Chair Tony Kranz.

Carlsbad Connector is a $650,000 investment, with the City of Carlsbad contributing $250,000 and NCTD and SANDAG each providing $200,000.

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