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San Diego MTS, NCTD Offering Free Transit Rides On Election Day

A man with a face covering exits an MTS trolley at the Old Town transit center, May 7, 2020.
Mike Damron
A man with a face covering exits an MTS trolley at the Old Town transit center, May 7, 2020.

San Diego County residents can ride to their polling places for free on Election Day, with county public transportation agencies announcing Tuesday that Nov. 3 will be a "Free Ride Day."

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District will honor free rides Nov. 3 on all MTS and NCTD fixed-routes services, including buses, the Trolley, SPRINTER, and COASTER.

Officials say the free rides will be instrumental in helping voters this year, with fewer polling places available than in prior elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


"Free Ride Day this year has a different purpose than in past years," said County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who is also the MTS Board chair. "We are holding it on one of the most important days for our country — Election Day. We want San Diego residents to have every opportunity to participate in our democracy. Free transit rides all day long will help do just that."

NCTD Board Chair and Encinitas Councilmember Tony Kranz said, "North County Transit District is a proud supporter of Free Ride Day because it's critical to our agency's effort to promote transit ridership and improve air quality. However, NCTD is honored this year to provide transportation at no cost to our residents on Election Day. These rides will help bridge the gap between where people live and where they can cast their vote on Nov. 3."

RELATED: MTS Expanding Bus Routes To Near Pre-Pandemic Levels

MTS and NTCD services will operate Election Day on a normal weekday schedule.

Passengers will not need a Compass Card or valid fare for either system, but face coverings will continue to be required on board all MTS and NCTD vehicles and at transit facilities.


Participants are encouraged to RSVP through the MTS Facebook page event, or online to receive event reminders about Free Ride Day, tips for taking transit, and more. Services not included during the Free Ride Day promotion are Amtrak Rail 2 Rail, MTS Access, and NCTD LIFT paratransit.

"Free Ride Day coinciding with Election Day elevates access for all of our San Diego voters to get to their assigned polling place," said Michael Vu, San Diego County Registrar of Voters. "We encourage voters to do their homework if they plan to vote at their polling place. Double-check the location because it may have changed, wear a face covering and mark your sample ballot in advance to quickly fill in the official ballot at the poll."

For more information, click here.

The 2024 primary election is March 5. Find in-depth reporting on each race to help you understand what's on your ballot.