Two temporary bus lines will shuttle passengers across North County for the next two to four months, as light-rail passenger service on Sprinter trains will be disrupted due to faulty brakes, according to transit agency officials.
The North County Transit District was forced to scrub a fifth-anniversary party Saturday and cancel all train service on an emergency basis when it was discovered that the trains' brakes were wearing out much too fast.
NCTD officials halted all light-rail service Friday night after crews found that rotors inside the central disc braking system were showing accelerated wear patterns, although tests results met manufacturer and California Public Utilities Commission brake performance standards, the agency said in a statement.
In the interim, transit officials planned to run two supplemental bus routes—the 618 Sprinter Express and the 620 Sprinter Express—during the workweek.
The 618 Sprinter Express, set to operate between the transit centers in Oceanside and Vista, will run hourly with stops at Sprinter stations on Coast Highway, Crouch Street, El Camino Real, Rancho Del Oro, College and Melrose Drive.
Eastbound service will start at 4:35 a.m. and extend until 10:18 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Friday’s schedule extends to 12:18 a.m. Saturday, for night owls.
Westbound service was set to start at 4:35 a.m. and run hourly until 10:14 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Friday night’s last bus starts at 12:14 a.m. Saturday.
The 620 Sprinter Express will run every 30 minutes in the coming workweek and will stop at the transit centers in Oceanside, Vista, at Palomar College, Cal State San Marcos and the Escondido station.
Eastbound service will start at 4:10 a.m. and extend until 9:40 p.m.
Westbound busses will start at 4:15 a.m. at the Escondido Transit Center
and run through 9:45 p.m.
The train service interruption could last between two and four months, according to the agency. The shutdown will allow the NCTD, the manufacturer Bombardier and the contracted operators, Veolia, to perform repairs.
The suspension came one day before transit officials had planned to celebrate the five-year anniversary of Sprinter service.
Riders who would like a refund for a monthly rail pass should call (760) 966-6500, email the NCTD’s customer service department at email@example.com or see a customer service representative at the Oceanside, Vista or Escondido transit center.
-City News Service