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New bus tour bringing tourists to La Jolla

A guided-tour bus program conveying out-of-town guests staying in downtown San Diego to selected spots in La Jolla started this week.

TourGuideTim run by Timothy A. Schenck, in conjunction with Coach America the local operator of Gray Line Tours, started offering group tours this week costing $48 per person. The tours depart from the Santa Fe Train Depot at 1050 Kettner Blvd. Tours leave at noon and return by 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

They go to Mount Soledad, the Village, La Jolla Shores and Torrey Pines Golf Course.

“I will usually, if not always, be serving as the tour guide for now,” said Schenck. “Guests will have free time to shop, dine, kayak, take a surf lesson, go on a walking tour, etc.”

A native Philadelphian who moved to La Jolla 12 years ago, Schenck has “a passion” for San Diego. He got the idea for establishing a La Jolla group tour service talking with hotel concierges in downtown San Diego.

“The feedback I got from them is there needs to be a tour to La Jolla,” he said.

Schenck has been visiting La Jolla advisory groups since earlier in the year discussing his bus tour proposal, getting their reaction and listening to their concerns.

“I’ve received a lot of support, especially from the merchants and hotels,” he said. “They want the people, but not necessarily the buses.”

Anitra Wirtz, who lives near the “triangle” in La Jolla Shores near Kellogg Park which sees lots of bus traffic every year, turned out at the La Jolla Traffic and Transportation Board’s June 24 meeting to present her views. She said there have been lots of problems with buses in the past.

“They block the views and they’ve left their engines on all day, sending carbon monoxide our way,” she said. “I have a picture showing seven buses parked along the red curb in front of the park one day.”

Wirtz noted La Jolla Shores beach is already so overcrowded in summer that streets are already difficult to navigate. She questioned the wisdom of bringing more buses and other heavy vehicular traffic to the Shores, which is causing road surfaces to further deteriorate.

“I don’t know what the bus companies pay to take care of the roads they use,” she said.