by Photo by Sarah Berjan

Chula Vista seniors ages 55 and older are now able to call unlimited free rides throughout the Northwest region of the city through a new shuttle program aimed to increase mobility to key community destinations and improve the quality of life. 

The Chula Vista Community Shuttle Program was made possible by a voucher grant the city received in June 2021 from the California Air Resource Board’s Clean Mobility Options Pilot Program (CMO), which provides funding for zero-emissions mobility options to under-resourced communities in the state. 

The program uses five all-electric sedans and one electric ADA transit van, operated by Circut, to provide free door-to-door transportation to eligible residents within the service area Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. City officials say the program will open up to the general public for a small fare in its second year. 

Eligible riders may call for rides through a bilingual mobile app, phone call, or kiosks at public locations throughout the service area. Residents must download Ride Circuit onto a smartphone or tablet to call rides via the app. 

Those using the app will be asked to create a user ID and password, allow the app to locate you, and enter personal information such as cell phone, gender, and birth date. The Chula Vista service map will be visible on the application. According to city Councilmember Jill Galvez, who has been at the forefront of the initiative, riders are allowed to bring a companion or pet free of charge.

According to a city staff report, the focus of the service territory will be on key destinations for this population, including healthcare, grocery, senior living facilities, senior centers, and other destinations as determined through community feedback. Over this period, the service will be adjusted and honed to the needs of this community.  

Community Congregational Development Corporation board member  Laurie Orange reported that 76 percent of the future population growth in Chula Vista is estimated to be seniors. 

“The state of transportation for seniors in Northwest Chula Vista is challenging. Seniors in this section of the city are very reliant upon paid transportation or rides from neighbors, friends, or loved ones from distant places to take them where they need to go for basic services. It's very important to me that we honor, cherish and take care of our aging population and help them gracefully age while remaining vital and important to our community,” Galvez 

According to Galvez, the initiative took a long time to become a reality. 

“Implementing and getting through the red tape took a long time. Now that the project is funded and started, my hope is that it can be expanded to include weekends, other parts of the city, and people of all ages,” Galvez said.  

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