Special to the Village News
Beginning this week, the North County Transit District has extended its Breeze 306 bus route in Fallbrook further northeast to include direct access to the Fallbrook Food Pantry and Boys and Girls Club.
The new service began Sunday, Oct. 2.
“This is tremendous for our clientele,” said Carolina Miller, program manager at the food pantry. “We have people living to the south that have had a difficult time getting here since we moved. Now they won’t have to walk or share a ride.”
Miller credited Jan Scott as being an advocate for the change.
An NCTD spokesperson said the frequency and span of bus line will remain the same. The approximate schedule is for service every half hour on weekdays and every hour on weekends. Service begins at 5:10 a.m. on weekdays at the first stop at Ivy and Main streets. On weekends, the service begins about the same time. There are seven major stops on each route, with the final destination at the Vista Transit Center. The service is then reversed.
The spokesperson said the new schedules are posted online at https://gonctd.com/.
The spokesperson, Colleen Windsor, said the NCTD has received consistent feedback on providing transit access to key destinations within Fallbrook.
“After evaluation, NCTD staff determined that this extension could be implemented to accommodate these key sites,” Windsor said. “NCTD worked closely with the County of San Diego to make this change.”
Scott said the extension is valuable, but noted Fallbrook is severely lacking public transportation.
“The bus from Temecula to Escondido no longer runs and there is no bus to the park and ride at Hwy. 76 and I-15, and no bus to Palomar College,” she noted. “We are in a desolated travel zone with few options. There are no UBER, LYFT or taxi service. This comes at a time when our seniors and community are struggling to get to and fro.”
Scott said what Fallbrook needed was a flex system, “which would provide transportation to encompass service around Fallbrook, FPUD meetings, the Wellness Center, Rainbow, Palomar College, Pala Mesa, the park and ride, Bonsall, and back to Fallbrook to stop at the community center and senior meals.”
However, none of that seems to be forthcoming, Scott said.
“NCTD would like to do more, but they have a real problem finding drivers,” she explained.
Supervisor Jim Desmond was instrumental in expanding the service, Scott added.
She also noted that NCTD provides free service for disabled riders who live within three-fourths of a mile of the bus route through its LIFT program.
For bus operators to ensure that this extension provides a positive work experience, the end of the route includes a brief layover where operators can take their break within Fallbrook, the spokesperson said. The new route is stopping at Fallbrook Café, which will be a stopover for the bus driver. Another of the new stops is by the urgent care center at Brandon and Alvarado streets.