SAN DIEGO (AP/CBS 8) — Service on a 22-mile rail system in northern San Diego County has been suspended so mechanics can replace worn brake rotors on its 12 trains.
The North County Transit District announced Friday that it could take up to four months to fix the Sprinter's troubled brake system.
It is an announcement that caught a lot of regular Sprinter passengers off-guard.
Oceanside resident Carolina Aquino takes the light rail every weekend and says she would have appreciated more notice.
"I was shocked actually. I was like, why?," said Aquino. "It's gonna be a disaster actually. People are going to complain."
Express shuttle buses running from Escondido to Oceanside are now taking the place of the Sprinter, with volunteers at the stations giving passengers guidance.
Max George said he was actually surprised at how efficient the shuttle was. And was satisfied that, for Saturday at least, the fare was waived.
Transit officials say it was during an inspection by state regulators last week when problems with the Sprinter trains' center braking system were discovered. Several brake components showing premature wear lead to the transit district's decision to suspend service.
District officials say because the Sprinter trains are manufactured in Europe it will take anywhere from two to four months to order and receive the replacement brake components and make the repairs.
A bus replacement service will be in place for Saturday, March 9, and Sunday, March 10. Beyond this weekend, a shuttle bus schedule replacing the Sprinter is still being worked out.
Every year, the 22-mile Sprinter system shuttles nearly 2.5 million passengers between Escondido and Oceanside.