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Sunday bus services to be reduced

The Metropolitan Transit System board voted Thursday to substantially reduce service on Sundays to help overcome a $15 million budget shortfall.

“MTS has been battling declining revenues for the last three years,” said Paul Jablonski, MTS’ chief executive officer.

“We have already raised fares and the board did not want to consider another fare increase to balance the budget,” he said. “Cutting service is never something we want to do, but without these revenues, we were left with no other choice.”

The cuts, set to go into effect Feb. 28, will save MTS about $7 million. MTS blamed its budget deficit on the elimination of state transit funding, declining sales tax revenues and lower than projected fare revenues.

Sunday service on most bus routes will be modified and 28 routes will be eliminated as a result of the budget shortfall, according to MTS. There will also be Sunday service changes on three trolley lines.

Route 30 that runs through La Jolla will see service hours on the weekend cut. Currently, the route operates from 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.; it will be reduced from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Frequency won’t change, but the route will not go to Downtown or UTC — only to the Veterans Administration facililty on weekends, according to MTS.

MTS officials said Sunday service was targeted for the majority of the changes because there are only about half as many riders on that day, compared with weekdays. There is also a higher percentage of non-work-related riders on Sunday, according to MTS.