30th Street Bus Stop Rebalancing

MTS is working to improve your 30th Street trip! One of our most frequent requests from our riders is for a faster journey. One of the most helpful things that we can do to keep our buses moving is to stop less often. When we’ve asked our riders in the past if they would be willing to walk another minute or two to a different bus stop for a trip that’s several minutes faster, most riders said yes.

Bus stop rebalancing is a practice that has been used at transit agencies nationally and internationally to reduce the time each bus spends stopped at bus stops boarding and alighting riders. National best practices in bus stop spacing call for stops to be placed approximately 1/4 mile apart. This is consistent with what MTS offers along other Uptown corridors, such as along Adams Avenue through University Heights and North Park. At present, 30th Street has stops in many places that are only 1/8 of a mile apart. While this keeps walk distances shorter for some riders, it can slow down the end-to-end journey for many other riders.

In order to help improve service reliability and travel time, MTS will be discontinuing or relocating some Route 2 and Route 6 bus stops along 30th Street in areas where bus stops are placed very closely together. Bus stops near important transfer points, major intersections, and major community points of interest will remain, with intermediate stops spaced to ensure that the majority of riders remain within a 1/4 mile walk of a bus stop.

Most riders will see an improved trip with no changes required to their bus stops or existing travel patterns. The current proposal based on initial rider feedback preserves 77 percent of Route 2 bus stops, with those stops already serving 92 percent of all Route 2 boardings and alightings.

Most importantly, this rebalancing effort will not cut service – MTS will continue operating the same number of Route 2 and Route 6 trips with the same service frequency and same service span.

Project Status

On November 15, 2019, MTS posted notices on bus stops proposed for discontinuation under the 30th Street Bus Stop Rebalancing program. MTS Planning staff received responses from over 30 individuals, with concerns over the following stops:

Bus Stop

Number of Responses



General program




30th/El Cajon










30th/North Park Way




Not given



Based on this feedback, MTS modified the rebalancing proposal to retain the bus stop pair at 30th Street and Howard Avenue as well as 30th Street and North Park Way, while also shifting the stops set to remain at 30th Street and El Cajon Boulevard.

This modified rebalancing proposal will take effect on Sunday, January 26th, 2020 alongside the next MTS service change. A complete list and map of stops set for discontinuation can be found below.

Frequently Asked Question

Which stops will be discontinued under this plan?

The following stops will be discontinued. If you don’t see your stop listed, your stop will remain in place.

  • Northbound 30th Street:
    • 30th St and Cedar St (#12473)
    • 30th St and Ivy St (#12480)
    • 30th St and Laurel St (#12481)
    • 30th St and Palm St (#12482)
    • 30th St and Thorn St (#12483)
    • 30th St and Lincoln Av (#12820)
    • 30th St and El Cajon Blvd – North Side (#12823)
    • 30th St and Meade Av (#12821)
    • 30th St and Madison Av (#12477)
  • Southbound 30th Street:
    • 30th St and Madison Av (#12088)
    • 30th St and Meade Av (12085)
    • 30th St and El Cajon Blvd – South Side (#12087)
    • 30th St and Lincoln Av (#12083)
    • 30th St and Thorn St (#12101)
    • 30th St and Palm St (#12100)
    • 30th St and Laurel St (#12097)
    • 30th St and Ivy St (#12094)

Why 30th Street?

Route 2 has seen a significant decrease in ridership since MTS has been keeping record of route-level ridership. Annual boardings on Route 2 have dropped from 1,745,000 in fiscal year 2009 to 846,000 in fiscal year 2019, a 52 percent decrease, despite providing a similar level of service on the road. While some of this loss can be attributed to changing neighborhood demographics and regional employment patterns, it far exceeds any changes experienced anywhere else in the MTS network, and indicates that this route is no longer meeting the needs of North Park and South Park residents the way it used to. In neighborhoods with other transportation options, rider feedback has indicated that the route’s slower travel times have led riders to seek alternate bus routes and alternate travel modes. This bus stop rebalancing program aims to improve both speed and reliability to help Route 2 meet our riders’ changing expectations.

What analysis has been done?

MTS benchmarked a number of transit agencies across the country to determine their strategies for bus stop spacing and stop prioritization. Based on this peer review, MTS analyzed existing stop-level ridership information based on on-board automatic passenger counting (APC) system data to determine which stops were most heavily utilized to minimize overall impacts to riders. Over 75 percent of bus stops will remain in place, leading this change to be considered a minor service change per MTS Board Policy 42, Transit Service Evaluation and Adjustment, and the bus stops remaining in place were optimized to make sure riders losing their closest stop would only have to travel about another 600 feet at most to access service.

Why not offer a separate limited-stop service instead?

MTS is already making full use of its operating budget, and any new service additions would have to come at the cost of reduced service elsewhere. Offering both a limited-stop service and a local service with more frequent stops like we do along major corridors like El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue is expensive to operate, and within the resources allocated to 30th Street, would likely result in either the limited-stop route or local route along 30th Street being operated with less than optimal frequency levels, ultimately leaving both services unattractive to riders. In order to make sure that transit along 30th Street as doing as many things for as many different people as it can, we have to find the right middle ground between service access and service speed.

What are the next steps?

MTS plans on implementing this rebalancing program with the next service change on Sunday, January 26, 2020. We will be evaluating service performance to determine this program’s impacts on ridership, service reliability, and travel times. If successful, MTS may expand this program to explore bus stop spacing along other routes.

How can I contact MTS with my questions or concerns about this project?

Please contact MTS Transportation Planner Peter Casellini at peter.casellini@sdmts.com or (619) 446-4951.

More information: