San Diego Metropolitan Transit System

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System
San Diego
Metropolitan Transit System
MTS Logo.svg
Locale San Diego County, California
Transit type Multi-Modal regional transit network consisting of:
Bus Rapid Transit
Light Rail
Commuter Rail
& Streetcar service in planning & implementation phases.
Number of lines

3 light-rail lines;

89 bus routes
Daily ridership 82 million annual passengers, or 263,000 each weekday
Call Centre 5-1-1
Began operation July 3, 1886; 125 years ago (1886-07-03)

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) is the public transit service provider for Central, South, Northeast and Southeast San Diego County, in the United States. MTS operating subsidiaries include the San Diego Trolley, Incorporated (SDTI), and San Diego Transit Corporation (SDTC). Average daily ridership among all public transit services provided is 280,100.[1]

MTS is one of the oldest transit systems in Southern California Dating Back as early as the 1880s, although the d/b/a names have changed over the years the two modes of transportation, buses and light rail, have remained consistent over the past 125 years.

MTS owns the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway (SD&AE); and the San Diego Vintage Trolley, Incorporated.[citation needed]

MTS also licenses and regulates taxicabs, jitneys, and other private for-hire passenger transportation services provided contract for the cities of San Diego, El Cajon, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Poway and Santee.


MTS is a joint powers authority agency, or JPA. Member cities include San Diego, Chula Vista, Coronado, El Cajon, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City, Poway, Santee, and the county of San Diego. Elected officials from each jurisdiction, including San Diego County, serve as the Board of Directors. The city of San Diego has the most representation with four members. A county resident is elected by the Board of Directors to serve as the Chairman.

Historical Timeline[2]



  • July 3: San Diego Street Car Company, founded by (Hamilton Story and Elisa Babcock) begins service. An open air street car, drawn by two mules or horses, makes its way up Fifth Avenue at D Street (now Broadway) with a top speed of 5 miles per hour. The San Diego Street Car Company eventually has five lines in downtown running between H Street (now Market), F Street, D Street (now Broadway), First and Fifth Streets. The "system" is composed of six cars, 20 horses and costs five cents to ride.
  • San Diego & Old Town Street Railway Company and Electric Rapid Transit Company plan overhead wires to power new line.
  • San Diego experiences terrific growth in the mid-to-late 1880s. In 1880 the county's population is 8,600. By 1887 it has grown to over 40,000 creating a demand for public transportation.


  • June 14: San Diego Land and Town Company begins suburban steam line, the National City and Otay Railway (NC&O) to shuttle buyers to new housing subdivisions. 550 passengers ride on the first day.
  • National City: Building a Community and Preserving Its Transit Heritage (1,2) provides a brief history of this city's public transit heritage.
  • November 9: The first electric motor makes test run on new tracks up Broadway to Kettner and on to Old Town
  • November 19: Electric street car service inaugurated in San Diego; next day San Diego Union newspaper reports:
..the electric motor commenced running through to Old Town and the residents along the line are no longer bothered with coal smoke and shrill tooting of the steam engine.

Two days later, another news story said,

It starts, stops and moves promptly and smoothly. The passenger as he marvels at the mysterious power that propels him, marvels at its transmission in such strength through the medium of an overhead wire.
  • December 1: City told that the "Old Town Line is being dismantled and moved" but a new electric street car line will be built to serve the new University Heights neighborhood (now Normal Street) and that the lines on Fourth and Fifth Streets in downtown San Diego will be electrified.


  • The Electric Rapid Transit Company puts an electric street car into regular operation in San Diego.


  • The Electric Rapid Transit Company collapses; steam and horse powered lines take over.



  • June: San Diego Cable Car Company starts operation. These "Palaces on Wheels" are trimmed with rare woods and stained-glass windows. The metalwork was plated with nickel. The cars travel at eight to ten miles per hour.
  • The population decreases to 16,000, causing some of the transportation companies to fail.


  • November: John D. Spreckels incorporates the San Diego Electric Railway Company.


  • January: J. D. Spreckels purchases the San Diego Street Car Company for $115,000. Over the next few years, he also purchases the Park Belt Line, the San Diego Cable Company, Citizens Traction Company and the O.B. Railroad. Spreckels decides to make a complete conversion to electrically powered vehicles. This involves retrackng, double-tracking, installing overhead wiring, building a power plant, purchasing new cars, and rehabilitating old cars. He is quoted as saying, "I made those larger investments to protect the investments I had already made. It was just plain business sense. The city would not grow without an adequate street car facility. If San Diego did not grow, then my big investments would not pay." The name and the system is changed to San Diego Electric Railway Company (SDER).
  • September: There were 12 miles of electric railway open with two double decker and six single decker vehicles.



  • In the first part of the new century there is impressive growth in the streetcar system. Two new operating divisions on Imperial Avenue in Downtown (1911) and Adams Avenue in Normal Heights (1915) open to accommodate this growth.


  • Spreckels builds a new power generating plant to operating the expanding streetcar network.


  • Third Avenue Streetcar Line begins operation from Market Street up Third to Fir Street to the luxurious Hotel Florence.
  • SDER operates 798,152 car miles in this year.


  • Third Avenue Streetcar Line extended to Washington Street and future Mission Hills community, and is briefly renamed Mission Hills Line. The streetcar line was the genesis of the new Mission Hills suburb.
  • Mission Hills Route 3: Building a Community Around a Street Car Line (page 1,2) provides a brief history of how transit contributed to one of San Diego's most vital neighborhoods.
  • One-way fare between San Diego and National City is $0.10 on the National City and Otay Railway (NC&O) Route.


  • Spreckels forces a ballot initiative to amend his charter with the City of San Diego to give him more than 25 years on his leases to operate streetcar service. With this greater security he is able to acquire major loans for service expansion and infrastructure.


  • Spreckels builds second power generating plant at Kettner and E Street when the plant built in 1905 no longer can handle the capacity.


  • Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park spurs next phase of transportation growth. A new electric car service is constructed up 12th Street to the Park's entrance with 101 new cars from St. Louis Car Company.
  • SDER operates 3,521,571 car miles in this year.
  • San Diego's original Victorian-style train depot is demolished and replaced with a new Mission-style Santa Fe Depot building. The new Santa Fe Depot continues to be used through the 20th century and into the 21st century, serving as a station for Amtrak, Coaster, and San Diego Trolley trains.


  • The "Great Flood" of 1916 washes out several rail lines.
  • Despite the rapid growth of the rail system it faces many challenges. Private auto ownership starts to increase and with it, auto drivers become jitney drivers, cruising streetcar lines for passengers.
  • WWI increases the cost of railway construction materials by 50 to 150 percent.



  • Spreckels announces plans to discontinue service on several rail lines to offset expenses, leading to approval of zone fares.
  • Nickel Zone fares introduced. There are two zones: "inner" and "outer."
  • Spreckels purchases new streetcars that requires only one driver/conductor instead of two. Older cars were retrofitted to reduce labor costs.
  • Spreckels sells his power generating plants to Consolidated Gas and Electric Company. From this point, power for streetcars will be purchased from the utility company.


  • The first motor bus goes into service, operating between National City and Chula Vista. "Number One" has hard rubber tires, two-wheel mechanical brakes, a four-cylinder engine and a plywood body. There are three buses, one manufactured by Flagel and two by the Reo company.


  • Bus drivers make between 27¢ and 33¢ per hour.
  • Spreckels begins the last major rail line expansion to Mission Beach (Belmont Park), Pacific Beach, and La Jolla. $2,500,000 is spent on rails, Spanish Mission terminals and substations, and Egyptian Revival stations. $800,000 is spent to purchase 50 new cars. Construction is completed in 1925.



  • Buses begin to replace street cars from Ocean Beach to La Jolla.
  • 222 new buses are added to the fleet.
  • Bus drivers make approximately $4.83 per day.
  • The Great Depression of the 1930s negatively impacts ridership; revenue goes down but the SDER is able to weather the economic downturn.


  • California Pacific International Exposition opens in Balboa Park without the need for expanded transit service, as had been necessary with the Panama Pacific Exposition two decades earlier.



  • WWII turns San Diego into a "boom town" again. Defense related industries revitalize the city, as do an influx of military personnel.
  • Ridership on public transit increases 600 percent during the war years. Any piece of equipment that rolls on rails or runs on tires is pressed into service to handle the enormous demand.
  • Used transit vehicles are purchased from around the nation. More electrical power is needed and substations are built, one in the basement of the Spreckels Theater Building on Broadway.
  • Some bus routes are operated haphazardly, frequently with no set schedule – just run as fast and as frequently as they can.
  • For the first time, women are hired to drive transit vehicles. This practice is discontinued when the war ends.
  • The 2.5 million dollar rail line built in the 1920s to the beaches is ripped out along with the elaborate stations and terminals and replaced with a bus line.


  • Streetcar and bus lines carry 94 million people, ridership increases lead to more than 146 million trips in 1944.


  • San Diego and Electric Railway begins to phase out streetcar lines and replace them with bus routes.


  • Only three streetcar lines remain in operation.


Vintage San Diego Transit Logo, used prior to the adoption of the system's unified MTS logo. The Logo was used both on bus stops and buses themselves.
  • Jesse L. Haugh purchases the San Diego Electric Railway Company from the Spreckels interests. San Diego Electric Railway Company's name is changed to San Diego Transit System. A new emblem and motto, "Safety, Courtesy, Service" are introduced by the San Diego Transit System.


  • April 23: New General Motors buses parade down Broadway to mark the retirement of streetcars, making San Diego the first major California city to convert to an all-bus transit system.
  • April 24: At 5:35 am the most senior operator at San Diego Transit, N.A. Holmquist, drives car No. 446 into the Adams Avenue car barn, ending rail transit in San Diego. Operator Holmquist and car No. 446 retire at the same time. It will be just over three decades, until July 1981, before rail transit will roll through San Diego again.



  • During the 1950s Jesse Haugh makes a concerted effort to update the transit system and improve service.
  • April: Haugh replaced 58 percent of the bus fleet with the most modern motor coaches available at the time. Accidents are reduced by 33 percent.


  • Haugh invests $1.5 million to improve the San Diego-Coronado Ferry and bus service.


  • Ridership is the same as it was in 1940s (before the boom of World War II) even though the population has doubled. Nationwide, transit has lost an average of 47 percent of its ridership.
  • Drivers make $2.10 per hour.
  • Haugh establishes a charter department to increase revenues and purchases over-the-road charter coaches with washrooms, tables, and refreshment centers.


  • In a joint transit/business partnership, Haugh begins the Marston Fashion Bus. Marston's is the city's premier department store from the late 19th century through the 1960s. The Fashion Bus has dressing rooms and its own foldout runway ramp.
  • Haugh is named president of the American Transit Association.


  • San Diego Transit celebrates its ten year anniversary under Haugh ownership. During the past ten years it has operated 107,504,296 revenue miles, carried 155,100,249 passengers, consumed 8,271,943 gallons of diesel fuel, and won six national safety awards.



  • A specially formed Transit Task Force recommend that the City of San Diego acquire the transit system.
  • June: Voters approve the City's purchase of San Diego Transit System along with a property tax assessment of $0.10 per $100 assessed evaluation to fund its future operations.


  • San Diego Transit becomes a non-profit corporation with the City of San Diego. It carries 18.4 million passengers on 23 routes with 150 buses. The base fare is $0.30 plus $0.10 per zone.


  • Ridership dips to 18.9 million from 21.5 million in 1968.



  • New Federal subsidies allow San Diego Transit to reduce the $0.35 base fare (plus an additional $0.10 per zone up to 8 zones) to a flat $0.25 fare.


  • SB 101 becomes law; MTDB formed.


  • San Diego Transit carries over 30 million passengers on 44 routes with a fleet of 350 buses and a flat-rate fare of $0.35.


  • MTDB Board Member Maureen O'Connor negotiates purchase of SD&AE Railway for $18.1 million.
  • Annual ridership in this decade increases from 18 million to 35 million.



  • San Diego Trolley, Inc. (SDTI) formed.


  • July 19: San Diego Trolley's inaugural run takes place on the 15.9-mile "South Line" (now "Blue Line") between Centre City San Diego (downtown) and the San Ysidro International Border on a primarily single-track alignment with four passing tracks.
  • July 26: San Diego Trolley begins revenue service. The operating day begins at 5:02 am and ends at 9:01 pm; service operates every 20 minutes; the fleet consists of 14 light-rail vehicles (LRVs); the service carries approximately 10,000 passengers per day.
  • Regional Monthly Ready Pass introduced.
  • MTDB negotiates its first sale/leaseback transaction worth $1.7 million.


  • Ten LRVs are added to fleet.


  • San Diego Trolley begins 15-minute service on the South Line; average daily ridership is over 14,000.


  • June 1: MTDB breaks ground on a 4-mile Trolley extension east from 12th & Imperial to Euclid Avenue. The extension will be the first leg of the "East Line" (now "Orange Line").
  • July: San Diego Trolley begins new distance-based zone fare structure with fares ranging from 50¢ to $1.00.
  • RailTex named operator of San Diego and Imperial Valley Railroad freight railroad service.
  • Express bus service begins operating on the new I-15 High-Occupancy-Vehicle (HOV) lanes. (The service is provided by County Transit System.)


  • The City of San Diego transfers its ownership of San Diego Transit Corporation to MTDB.
  • The MTDB Board expands from seven to 15 members.
  • MTDB negotiates a $1.3 million sale/leaseback transaction.


MTS logo used from 1986 to 2005.
  • Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) logo adopted.
  • One-, Two-, and Three-Day Tripper passes are introduced.
  • San Diego Trolley takes delivery of five new LRVs.
  • March 23: San Diego Trolley begins 30-minute service on the 4.5-mile "East Line" (now "Orange Line") to Euclid Avenue.
  • May: The Transit Store opens at Broadway & Fifth Avenue in downtown San Diego. The new sales and customer service center is a joint operation of San Diego Transit and MTDB.
  • July: Over 5,000 San Diegans attend the "Century of Service" Pops concert in the Gaslamp Quarter, celebrating San Diego Transit's 100 years of public transit service.
  • October: A new station opens at Bayfront/E Street in Chula Vista on San Diego Trolley's South Line.
  • November 17: MTDB breaks ground on the next 11.7-mile extension of the East Line.


  • The bus-only San Diego State University (SDSU) Transit Center opens.
  • Construction begins on the 10-story James R. Mills Building, which is built above the 12th & Imperial Station in downtown San Diego.
  • November: San Diego voters approve a 20-year local sales tax increase called TransNet. The bill authorized a 1/2-percent addition to the local sales tax that is split with 1/3 for highways, 1/3 for local roads, and 1/3 for public transit projects.


  • San Diego Trolley takes delivery of 20 new LRVs.
  • The parking lot at National City's 8th Street Trolley Station is expanded.


  • January: MTDB, San Diego Trolley, and several County of San Diego departments move to the James R. Mills Building at 12th & Imperial Station.
  • MTDB assumes regulatory responsibility for taxis in the City of San Diego.
  • San Diego Transit's Kearny Mesa Bus Division opens.
  • May 12: San Diego Trolley begins service on the "East Line" (now "Orange Line") extension from Euclid Avenue to Spring Street in La Mesa.
  • June 23: San Diego Trolley begins service on the East Line extension from Spring Street to El Cajon Transit Center.
  • Average daily Trolley ridership increases to more than 48,000.
  • Bus and Trolley ridership in this decade grows from 35 million in 1980 to 54 million in 1989.



  • San Diego Trolley begins service on the "East Line" (now "Orange Line") extension from Columbia Street (later replaced by America Plaza) to 12th & Imperial via the Bayside Corridor.
  • MTDB negotiates a $1.6 million sale/leaseback transaction.
  • The Classroom Day Tripper, offering deep discounts for youth and school group field trips, is introduced.
  • San Diego Trolley sets a new, single-day ridership record of 71,790.


  • Governor Pete Wilson (formerly San Diego Mayor) inaugurates the start of San Diego Trolley's 7.5-minute peak-period service on the South Line.
  • America Plaza Transfer Station and the 32-story One America Plaza Building open at Broadway & Kettner Blvd., replacing the Columbia Street Station.
  • APTA announces San Diego Trolley will receive the 1991 Public Transportation System Outstanding Achievement Award for systems utilizing 50 peak-hour vehicles or less.
  • San Diego Trolley carries its 90 millionth rider.


  • The Adopt-A-Bus Stop Program begins.
  • MTDB and NCTD jointly purchase Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (AT&SF) Railway right-of-way in San Diego County.
  • San Diego Trolley begins service on the "South Line" (now "Blue Line") extension from America Plaza to County Center/Little Italy Station with an intermediate stop at Santa Fe Depot.


  • South Bay Bus Maintenance Facility in Chula Vista is acquired.


  • Compressed natural gas (CNG) buses are placed into service on San Diego Transit and MTDB-contracted bus routes. 97 new CNG buses are added to the fleet.
  • The Transit Store relocates to 102 Broadway (at First Avenue) in downtown.
  • San Diego Trolley takes delivery of 52 new LRVs. These LRVs are a new model (SD-100) with higher performance than the existing fleet of U2s.
  • MTDB complete a bus sale/leaseback transaction for $540,000 and an LRV sale/leaseback transaction for $10.7 million.
  • August 26: San Diego Trolley begins service on the "East Line" (now "Orange Line") extension from El Cajon Transit Center to Santee Town Center. Revenue service begins August 28.


  • San Diego Transit celebrates its 110th Anniversary; San Diego Trolley celebrates its 15th Anniversary.
  • June 15: San Diego Trolley begins service on the "North Line" (now "Blue Line") extension from County Center/Little Italy Station to Old Town Transit Center. Revenue service begins June 16. The North Line is through routed with the South Line.
  • The Adult Education Center joint development project breaks ground at National City's 24th Street Trolley station.


  • Full "MTS Access" ADA complementary paratransit service is implemented.
  • The MTDB-contracted "Inland Breeze" bus service, funded through FasTrak revenue, begins service on the I-15 HOV lanes.
  • San Diego Trolley renames the South/North Line as the Blue Line and the East Line as the Orange Line. Trolley station identification numbers are reclassified from a letter and one or two numbers to two numbers and either a wave (Blue Line) or sun (Orange Line).
  • November 22: San Diego Trolley begins service on the "Blue Line" extension from Old Town Transit Center to Mission San Diego. Revenue service begins November 23.


  • San Diego Trolley has record ridership of 219,000 to National Football League's Super Bowl XXXII and 140,000 to Major League Baseball's World Series.


  • San Diego Trolley's Mission Valley East (MVE) extension from Mission San Diego to Grossmont Center breaks ground.
  • Congress authorizes $325 million for MVE and Mid-Coast Trolley extensions. (The Mid-Coast extension would run from Old Town Transit Center north to Balboa Avenue and UCSD.)
  • Commute service begins on the San Diego-Coronado Ferry.
  • MTS bus and trolley annual ridership grows from 60 million in 1990 to 84 million in 1999.



  • San Diego Transit and MTDB-contracted routes take delivery of 70 new low-floor CNG buses.
  • San Diego Trolley's rail yard expansion project is completed.
  • October: A new station opens at Fenton Parkway in Mission Valley on San Diego Trolley's Blue Line.


  • San Diego Trolley celebrates its 20th Anniversary; San Diego Transit celebrates its 115th Anniversary; MTDB celebrates its 25th Anniversary.
  • San Diego Transit and MTDB-contracted routes take delivery of 117 new low-floor CNG buses.
  • Construction begins on the new San Ysidro Intermodal Transportation Center.


  • MTDB assumes control over County Transit System from the County of San Diego but maintains use of its 800-series bus route numbers.


  • Super Bowl XXXVII generates more than 400,000 riders for San Diego Trolley.
  • MTDB opens a park-and-ride lot for 120 vehicles at the Sorrento Valley Coaster Station.
  • Consolidation begins as some MTDB and NCTD administrative functions are assumed by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).
  • October: MTDB becomes formally known as MTS.


  • The new San Ysidro Intermodal Transportation Center opens.
  • Fareboxes with Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) and Smart Card acceptance are installed on San Diego Transit buses.
  • San Diego Trolley accepts a shipment of 11-new Low Floor Model S70 Full Length LRVs.


  • July 9: San Diego Trolley begins service on the Mission Valley East extension from Mission San Diego to Grossmont Center. The new "Green Line" operates between Old Town Transit Center and Santee Town Center. Blue Line service between Old Town Transit Center and Qualcomm Stadium remains but operates during peak periods only; Orange Line service between Weld Blvd. (renamed Gillespie Field) and Santee Town Center is discontinued.
  • New MTS Logo, Branding, and MTS Bus And Trolley Paint Themes Adopted


  • MTS implements the findings of its Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA); the bus network is redesigned for the first time in 23 years.
  • San Diego Trolley alternatively branded as "MTS Rail" appears on some temporary signs, this branding is soon depreciated.


  • MTS assumes control over National City Transit from the City of National City, amid the City's reluctance to implement findings of the COA, and retires its 600-series bus route numbers.


  • MTS is named the Outstanding Public Transit System for 2009 by the American Public Transportation Association.
  • In fiscal year 2009, MTS set a record for ridership with over 92 million rides from July 1, 2008 to June 31, 2009.
  • September 24: San Diego Trolley places an order for 57 Ultra Short Low Floor Model S70 LRVs, at a total cost of $205 million.


  • San Diego Trolley beings construction on the "Trolley Renewal Project". The project is expected to last five years and renovates all stations and existing infrastructure to handle the new Low Floor S70 LRVs purchased the previous year.


  • MTS begins work on a study to evaluate the feasibility of reconnecting Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo and Downtown San Diego through a fixed-guideway, electrified streetcar line.
  • MTS begins weekend and holiday service of the Silver Line, which operates around Downtown San Diego and features renovated PCC streetcars with a partnership with the San Diego historic streetcar society.

Public transportation

MTS administers several public transportation services, including the San Diego Trolley and three light rail lines, 95 fixed-route bus services, and paratransit service. About half of its fixed-route bus services are contracted out to Veolia Transportation, First Transit, Inc., or Southland Transportation Services, with First Transit providing paratransit services.

MTS has begun providing their route schedules to Google and this has spawned a new generation of trip planners such as TransitTrips.

Light rail service

San Diego Trolley Model SD100s in Downtown San Diego. March 2008.

Light rail service is operated by the San Diego Trolley, Incorporated (SDTI). It is commonly referred to as "The Trolley". Four lines are operated and are designated by the colors Blue, Orange, Green, and Silver. Special Event service is also operated for large events occurring at Qualcomm Stadium, Petco Park and the San Diego Convention Center via a special event Red Line.

Light rail service provided by MTS is among the most utilized systems in terms of patronage in the United States. Over 100,000 typically ride the Trolley each weekday.

The Blue Line was the initial line to enter into service, operating between San Ysidro and Downtown San Diego. The Orange Line began service in March 1986 linking eastern suburban areas also to Downtown San Diego. The Green Line began service in July 2005 and included the system's first underground station located at San Diego State University. It operates predominantly in Mission Valley, linking Santee, San Diego State University, and Old Town. The Silver Line began service in August 2011, operating around Downtown San Diego and featuring renovated PCC streetcars.

Commuter and express bus service

Five commuter express fixed-route bus routes (Routes 810, 820, 850, 860, and 870) are operated Monday through Friday linking suburban areas to the north and east with downtown San Diego and Kearny Mesa. Each route runs inbound to downtown San Diego or Kearny Mesa during the morning commute period and outbound in the afternoon commute period. Over-the-road Greyhound style vehicles are used for these Commuter Express Services.

Five express fixed-route bus routes (Routes 20, 50, 150, 210, and 960) are operated along major roadways and highways and link intermediate distant suburban areas to the San Diego urban area. Two of the five routes only operate during the morning and evening commute periods. Vehicles used for service are typically standard 40-foot buses or 60-foot articulated buses.

Urban and local bus service

Urban bus routes link the densely populated neighborhoods and adjacent cities together with direct and frequent bus service. These services constitute the bulk of fixed-route bus services operated in terms of vehicle requirements and patronage. Typically, headways are 12–15 minutes between scheduled bus arrival/departure times during commute periods and during midday times. Generally, no worse than 30-minute headways occur during non-commute periods and weekends. Local routes generally have stops placed every block or every other block. Limited routes have stops placed every approximately quarter to half mile. Major arterial roads in the City Heights and North Park area of San Diego have both types of routes available, providing for more frequent service. Articulated buses are used during the summer on weekends on route 30 to provide extra access to the beaches. Route 7 utilizes articulated buses along University Ave due to it being the busiest bus route in San Diego.[3]

Local routes and Shuttle services are also operated by MTS. These typically operate less frequently or have a shorter range.

Rural bus service

Rural transit services link the sparsely populated central and eastern portions of San Diego County to the San Diego urban core. Each rural service is linked to the San Diego Trolley and other fixed-route transit services at the El Cajon Transit Center. Routes 888, 891/892 and 894 constitute the rural services.

Paratransit service

Paratransit services, operated under the name "MTS Access" provide point-to-point service upon request to passengers registered with MTS as being qualified for assistance under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Service is available throughout the MTS service area, and connections to a similar NCTD service are also available.

Vehicles are 16-passenger van conversions equipped with wheelchair lifts and tiedowns. 12 of the 16 seats are collapsible, allowing space for up to 4 wheelchairs. Fares are $4.50 each way, though passengers are allowed to bring one companion (as a PCA, or Personal Care Assistant) free of charge. Additional fare-paying companions are also permitted.

Connecting transit services

Connecting public transit services include the BREEZE bus, SPRINTER light rail, and COASTER commuter rail services operated by the North County Transit District (NCTD). Amtrak operates several weekday and weekend train services (Pacific Surfliner) out of the downtown San Diego Santa Fe Depot. Some bus services enter the United States from Tijuana, Mexico.


Effective January 1, 2008, MTS raised fares and eliminated transfer passes for some fixed-route bus services. The regular passenger fare for each boarding increased from $1.75–$2.25 per boarding to a maximum $2–$2.25 per boarding depending on the route. The Monthly Pass increased from $60 to $64[4].

Although the cash fare increase was modest, $0.25, the elimination of free 2-hour Transfer Passes was controversial.[citation needed] This impacted infrequent cash fare paying riders using multiple bus routes to complete their trip the most because each boarding requires the full fare be paid. As a response, MTS encouraged riders to purchase a $5 Daily Pass for access on the whole system as it is approximately the same cost as the total would be for a round trip utilizing a single bus for each direction and paying the single ride fare each time. Or, to consider purchasing a $64 Monthly Pass.

Effective January 1, 2009, MTS set fares for the San Diego Trolley at $1.25 for up to two hours within downtown San Diego, and $2.50 for all other one-way trolley service. Seniors (ages 60 and over), people with disabilities and Medicare cardholders pay 60 cents and $1.25 respectively. Further, the Monthly Pass increased from $64 to $68, with the youth pass at $34 and seniors/disabled/Medicare pass at $17. While the adult Premium Monthly Pass (including travel on $5 premium express buses) remained at $90, new $45 youth and $22.50 senior/disabled/Medicare premium monthly passes were introduced.[5]

Effective July 1, 2009, MTS eliminated the downtown zone fare category for the San Diego Trolley. As a result, the regular passenger fare for all one-way trips on the trolley became $2.50 regardless of origin or destination point; seniors, people with disabilities, and Medicare cardholders pay just $1.25 each. MTS also increased the passenger fare for shuttle bus routes to $2.25 ($1.10 senior/disabled/Medicare). All other single-ride cash fares remain unchanged. The cost of an ordinary 1-day pass also remained at $5, but the cost of a 1-day RegionPlus pass increased from $11 to $14. MTS also increased the prices of all monthly passes (e.g. from $68 to $72 for a regular 30-day adult pass) and began selling 14-day passes, which replace the half-month passes.[6]

No passes are accepted by MTS Access paratransit buses; however, prepaid tickets are available in books of 10.

Effective May 1, 2010, MTS passes will only be available on the Compass Card, which is a smart chip enabled transit card.

San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway

San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway is a division of MTS; however does not operate public transit service. Instead, the division manages and leases the tracks for freight service to two freight operators.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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  • San Diego Trolley — Matériel roulant du San Diego Trolley. Situation …   Wikipédia en Français

  • San Diego — This article is about the city in California. For the metropolitan area, see San Diego metropolitan area. For other meanings of San Diego , see San Diego (disambiguation). San Diego   City   City of San Diego …   Wikipedia

  • San Diego–Tijuana — This article is about the international metropolitan region. For the cites of San Diego and Tijuana, see San Diego and Tijuana. Coordinates: 32°32′31.87″N 117°01′46.63″W /  …   Wikipedia

  • San Diego, California — Infobox Settlement imagesize = image caption = San Diego Skyline | March 31, 2007 official name = City of San Diego settlement type = City nickname = America s Finest City, City in MotionFact|date=September 2008, Silicon BeachFact|date=September… …   Wikipedia