Try transit! Taking public transportation can get you out of a traffic snarl, save money on gas, help the environment, and ease the stress of your daily commute – all while reducing congestion on our roadways. Plan your trip today using the Google Transit Trip Planner.
Regional Transit Agencies
The San Diego region is served by two major transit agencies, the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and the North County Transit District (NCTD). Together, MTS and NCTD carry more than 90 million passengers annually. Transit passes are available on Compass Card, the latest in smart card technology. You can buy or reload your Compass Card at Albertsons stores throughout San Diego County. You also can buy or reload Compass Cards online, at Ticket Vending Machines at Trolley, COASTER, and SPRINTER stations, at the MTS Transit Store, NCTD Customer Service Centers, or select community outlets. For details or more information, visit 511sd.com/compass.
Did you know that Compass Cards have a limited life? If you see an “expired” notice on platform validators or bus fare boxes, or if your card isn’t being accepted at Ticket Vending Machines, it may be time for a replacement. Know your card’s expiration date and replace your Compass Card before it expires.
Remember to always tap your Compass Card on a validator before you board the Trolley, COASTER, or SPRINTER, or tap on the fare box as you board the bus. Tapping your card keeps it current and tells the fare inspector or conductor you have a valid pass.
MTS provides services in the central, south, and east San Diego County regions. MTS operates three Trolley lines and an extensive local bus, express bus, and Rapid transit system. Visit MTS for information on routes, schedules, fares, and passes.
The Trolley consists of three lines: Blue, Orange, and Green, serving 53 stations and 53.5 total miles.
Local bus routes operate through major and minor corridors throughout the MTS service area.
Rapid 235 and Rapid Express routes (280 and 290) use the I-15 Express Lanes to transport riders from North County locations to their destinations in Downtown San Diego and Sorrento Mesa. Direct access ramps allow Rapid vehicles, as well as carpools/vanpools and FasTrak customers, to bypass general lanes and enter directly onto the Express Lanes.
The NCTD service area covers 1,020 square miles of northern San Diego County. NCTD runs two rail lines and one bus system: the COASTER, SPRINTER, and BREEZE. Visit NCTD for information on routes, schedules, fares, and passes.
The COASTER rail line connects north San Diego County with Downtown San Diego seven days a week via stations in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Sorrento Valley, and Old Town.
The SPRINTER rail line runs 22 miles from Oceanside to Escondido, transporting passengers to work, school, shopping centers, and other activities via 15 stations.
BREEZE buses stop at or near major regional attractions and have stops at many north San Diego County beaches.
Other Rail Services
Metrolink. Connect from San Diego to Orange, Los Angeles, and Riverside counties at the Oceanside Transit station. For schedules, fares, and routes visit Metrolink.
Amtrak. Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner serves coastal San Diego County, stopping at Oceanside, Solana Beach, and the downtown Santa Fe Depot. For schedules, fares, and routes visit Amtrak.
Park & Ride lots Conveniently located throughout the region, Park & Ride lots are free and a great place to connect to your transit stop. View the Park & Ride page to find a lot near you.
TripTracker TripTracker helps you measure the savings of your transit commute – both to your wallet and the planet. Just log in, record your transit trip, and watch the savings add up. Plus, by logging eligible trips at least eight days per month, you’ll be automatically entered for chances to win iCommute monthly prize drawings! Get started and sign up for iCommute today.
Guaranteed Ride Home You’ll never be stranded with the Guaranteed Ride Home program. Commuters who carpool, vanpool, take transit, walk, or bike to work are eligible. Guaranteed Ride Home ensures that you’ll be able to get home for free up to three times per year in case of a personal or family emergency, unscheduled overtime, or being stranded at work if your carpool or vanpool driver has an emergency. To enroll, sign up for iCommute today.
For more transit information, call 511 and say “public transportation” or email iCommute@sandag.org.
Compass Card is the smart card that stores your transit pass and makes riding transit easy. Purchase or reload your Compass Card at all Albertsons stores throughout San Diego County.
Transit Benefit Debit Card
Transit Trip Planner
Regional Transit Map
Guaranteed Ride Home