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The pilot program will connect riders to and from Coaster stations within a specific geographic boundary.
The pilot program will connect riders to and from Coaster stations within a specific geographic boundary. Photo Steve Puterski
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NCTD launches pilot for discount rides to Coaster stations

CARLSBAD — The North County Transit District launched a new first- and last-mile pilot program this week with several ridesharing companies to offer commuters credit toward trips to and from Coaster stations.

NCTD is partnering with Uber, Lyft and TripShot to provide discounted rides for commuters using the Carlsbad Poinsettia Station and Sorrento Valley Coaster stations NCTD officials confirmed.

The program appears similar to the Carlsbad Connector, which was started in 2019 until the program was suspended in July 2020 due to the pandemic.

NCTD is also planning another pilot program in San Marcos, according to a 2020 press release from Carlsbad, although the details will be released at a later date.

NCTD Begins Pilot for Discount Rides from Sorrento, Carlsbad Coaster Stations
The North County Transit District announced a new first- and last-mile pilot project with Uber, Lyft and TripShot for commuters using Sorrento Valley and Carlsbad Poinsettia Station. Photo by Steve Puterski

The pilot, which is offered through the District’s NCTD+ mobility-as-a-service program, gives riders a $7.50 credit toward trips to or from the Sorrento Valley or Poinsettia stations within specific geographic zones.

“NCTD+ provides greater flexibility for commuters to connect to locations near Sorrento Valley and Carlsbad Poinsettia Coaster Stations,” NCTD Executive Director Matthew Tucker said in a press release. “Those starting early, or staying late, now have reliable transportation to or from two of our busiest Coaster stations.”

The pilot runs from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and passengers with a mobility device can book trips for curb-to-curb service using the TripShot app. Others can use Uber and Lyft using a designated coupon or QR code.

Users using the codes will pay the first $2.50 and receive a $7.50 credit from NCTD after the trip to cover the rest of the cost up to $10. Customers, though, will be responsible to cover additional costs over $10.

To qualify, each trip scheduled must being or end at the Poinsettia or Sorrento Valley stations.

The range of the Carlsbad program spans 10.8 square miles and runs north from Cannon Road to El Camino Real and south to Poinsettia Lane. The boundary stops at Melrose Drive north to Sycamore Avenue in Vista and south to Poinsettia Lane.

The Sorrento Valley portion covers 16.1-square miles and includes the University of California, San Diego, Westfield UTC and runs east along Miramar Road to Camino Santa Fe and north to Sorrento Valley Boulevard near the Calle Cristobal and Camino Santa Fe intersection.

As for the Carlsbad Connector, the City of Carlsbad reported more than 400 riders per week used the service at its peak in February 2020. It had a 96% on-time rate with more than 10,000 rides from when it launched in August 2019.

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