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10-Year SPRINTER Anniversary


Oceanside, CA—March 9 marks the tenth anniversary of North County Transit District’s SPRINTER hybrid rail system.  Launched in 2008, the SPRINTER has become the backbone of east/west public transit in North County serving 15 stations along a 22-mile route from Escondido to Oceanside.  Over 23 million trips have been provided by the SPRINTER over the ten-year period.

“The SPRINTER is a significant asset for North San Diego County providing transportation, economic, and environmental benefits,” said NCTD Board Member Bill Horn. “We are proud of the safe and convenient trip that the SPRINTER offers our customers and we are happy to celebrate this anniversary!”

“Anyone traveling along the SPRINTER rail corridor within the City of San Marcos can see the positive impact that the SPRINTER has had in supporting smart growth,” said NCTD Board Chair Rebecca Jones.  “As the Chair of NCTD’s Board of Directors, I want to thank our customers, employees, elected officials, and key stakeholders that supported the initial planning and construction and the daily operations of the SPRINTER.”

The cost for construction of the SPRINTER, including the construction of its maintenance facility and vehicles, totaled $477 million.  The SPRINTER has an annual ridership of 2.5 million with an average weekday ridership of 8,400. The level boarding at each station makes it fully ADA-accessible, and a great option for people of all ages.

“March 9, 2008 was a seminal moment in the history of NCTD.  It marked the return of passenger travel from Oceanside to Escondido and began the economic development for the cities along the Highway 78 corridor.  College students attending CSUSM, Palomar College, and Mira Costa College find it to be a blessing in convenience and transportation savings,” said NCTD Board Member Ed Gallo.  “As Board Chairman at the time, I praised the foresight of NCTD in completing the much needed additional transportation option.”

“We are proud of the SPRINTER’s decade-long success,” said SANDAG Vice-Chair and Mayor of Poway Steve Vaus.  “SANDAG is honored to have been a part of the creation of this transportation option for commuters traveling across the State Route 78 corridor.”

To celebrate the anniversary, NCTD will host pop-up events at many of the SPRINTER stations throughout the year.  These events will be a way for the community to meet some of the NCTD staff and learn more about the SPRINTER while encouraging new ridership and supporting our current patrons.

Also this year, LIFT, NCTD’s American’s with Disabilities Act Paratransit service is celebrating its 25th anniversary of operations.  LIFT provides service for eligible customers who cannot complete a trip using NCTD’s fixed-route system.  LIFT serves approximately 200,000 trips annually.

One rider, Sara R., recently wrote NCTD about LIFT services. She said, “we would like to thank all of your dispatchers, drivers, and schedulers working seven days a week to provide us such a wonderful service. Thank you LIFT team, thank you NCTD.”

For more information about SPRINTER, or LIFT, visit