Hybrid bus takes off

“SuperLoop’’ transit service began Monday in University City with the region’s first gas-electric hybrid buses.

About 700,000 people are expected to take advantage of the circular route through University City in the first year, according to the San Diego Association of Governments.

“SuperLoop’’ buses will stop in 10-minute intervals at UC San Diego Medical Center, La Jolla Village Square, La Jolla Village Center, Westfield UTC, Scripps Memorial Hospital, Costa Verde Shopping Center and other business locations in University City.

The one-way fare will be $2.25.

Traffic-light priority and bus-only lanes are being constructed to speed up the “SuperLoop’’ service, according to SANDAG. That project is expected to be completed in fall 2010.

Representatives from SANDAG and the Metropolitan Transit System, along with various local elected officials, gathered Monday at Westfield UTC to mark the start of the new service.