Carlsbad Searching for a Transportation Solution for Commuters

Carlsbad is one of the most expensive places to live in San Diego County according to a new report from the real estate website, Zillow. With a median home value of $860,700 and an average rent of $3,200 a month, many people cannot afford to live in Carlsbad despite the massive number of people who work there.

To avoid the cost of living, workers commute from their homes to Carlsbad and that is not easy. Businesses now struggle with recruiting and maintaining workers because of the commute, punctuated by the inconvenience of public transportation.

Approximately 36,000 workers drive to various businesses around the McClellan-Palomar Airport that holds Carlsbad’s largest job cluster. A large number of those workers are trekking from outside the city, as noted by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).

Only 17 percent of workers at businesses near the airport actually live in the city, and over one-third of these workers live in Oceanside or San Diego.

To solve this issue, Carlsbad has launched a new shuttle service with SANDAG and the North County Transit District (NCTD). This service seeks to alleviate the pressure of commuting and take workers to and from the Poinsettia train station near the airport and other stations around the area.

The shuttle will be reserved through a ride-sharing app and be available during the morning, lunchtime, and evening. The service will be free for anyone who already owns a Coaster train pass and will cost between $1.25 and $2.50 for anyone without a pass.

The City of Carlsbad has invested $250,000, while SANDAG and NCTD each invested $200,000. The contract for the service ends in June 2020, so the officials behind the project will be surveying the commuters and re-evaluating the program.

For the service to be successful, the City would want to see around 100 users a day on average. Christie Marcella, Carlsbad’s economic development manager, said that “the daytime lunch service was established in order to remove as many barriers as possible to making a transit choice.”

The City hopes this new resource will encourage more workers in Carlsbad as well as reduce greenhouse gases to reach the City’s environmental goals. 


Photo by Jirka Matousek via Flickr