Skip to main content

KPBS Radio is undergoing scheduled upgrade work which may result in temporary signal outages.

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Tokyo Olympics

For One Day, Public Transit Will Be Free Across San Diego County

An advertisement for MTS Free Ride Day on Oct. 2 covers a trolley car, Sept. ...

Photo by Andrew Bowen

Above: An advertisement for MTS Free Ride Day on Oct. 2 covers a trolley car, Sept. 28, 2018.

Public transit riders across San Diego County can board buses and trains for free on Tuesday, thanks to the region's first-ever Free Ride Day.

San Diego City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez, who chairs the Metropolitan Transit System board of directors, said at a news conference promoting the event on Friday that more transit ridership would mean cleaner air, savings on gas and parking costs and a more relaxing commute.

"I want to make sure that we are changing the culture in San Diego ... that transit is a real choice for San Diegans," she said.

The free rides apply all day, starting at midnight Tuesday morning. They include MTS fixed route buses and trolleys as well as the COASTER commuter rail, SPRINTER light rail and BREEZE and FLEX bus services operated by the North County Transit District.

Ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft are also offering $5 off rides to transit stations with the promo code RIDESHARESD18.

RELATED: City Is Poised to Back Down on Plan to Increase Height Limit – Again

Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Free Ride Day would support the city's efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, most of which come from people driving cars and trucks.

"We need the help of all San Diegans to do their part," he said.

Faulconer's staff said the mayor would be on a trip to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, but that they were exploring ways for him to participate in spirit.

MTS and transit agencies across the United States have struggled to reverse a downward trend in ridership that is threatening state and local climate action goals. Earlier this year MTS began rolling out a reorganization of bus routes meant to improve efficiency.

MTS spokesman Rob Schupp estimated the indirect costs of the day would range from $75,000 to $125,000 in lost fare revenue. The system's operating budget for the current fiscal year is $287.2 million.

Reported by Kpbs Video Journalists

San Diegans can board all fixed route buses, trolleys, SPRINTER and COASTER trains for free on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Public transit officials hope the day will inspire people to give transit a try.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Andrew Bowen

Andrew Bowen
Metro Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover local government — a broad beat that includes housing, homelessness and infrastructure. I'm especially interested in the intersections of land use, transportation and climate change.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.