How to Ride With MTS

How To Ride The Bus

If you’re new to riding buses, here are a few simple tips to help make MTS bus the smart move for your travel needs!

How Do I Know Which Bus Route I Need?

It’s easy to find information on which bus route(s) you need to make your trip and when they travel:

 

Online, go to our Online Trip Planner and enter your point of origin, your destination and when you need to travel. Our automated trip planner will do the rest. All timetables are available online as well. If you’re just interested in the bus routes in your area, visit our Areas Served page, where they’re listed by community.

By phone, call our Regional Transit Information Service at 619-233-3004 or 511, and an operator can give you all the information you need to plan your transit trip – routes, schedules, fares... everything! They're also happy to send you schedules and maps if requested. Persons with hearing impairments can dial our TTY at 1-888-722-4889.

Our printed information is also available at The Transit Store and over 100 other locations around town. Call the Regional Transit Information Service for the location nearest you.

You can also check the Public Transportation section in the front of your Yellow Pages book for general information about MTS services.

How Do I Know Where the Bus Stops?

Every MTS bus stop has a sign to indicate that the bus stops there. Once you know which route and stop you need, just look for the bus stop signs posted all along the route (usually every few blocks). On Express routes, the bus stops are often spaced farther apart to allow faster service. Every sign lists the numbers of the routes that stop at that location, so you’ll be sure to know if the route you want stops there.

  

How Do I Know When the Right Bus Comes Along?

Every bus has its route number at the top front of the bus and on the side window next to the front door. In addition, the sign will also tell you the destination of the bus so you’ll be certain you’re getting on the right bus (e.g. “7 – LA MESA”).

 

How Do I Get a Bus to Stop for Me?

As the bus you want approaches, face the bus and signal to the driver to stop. Sometimes several routes stop at the same location, so this helps the driver know that you're waiting for his or her bus.

 

Where Do I Sit?

To make yourself more comfortable, take a seat. If all the bus seats are occupied, move to the rear of the bus. You’ll find poles throughout the bus to hold if you’re standing. Hold small children securely.

Please be courteous. The seats at the front of every bus are for senior citizens and persons with disabilities. There are also flip seats at the front for riders in wheelchairs. Please make these areas available for fellow passengers who are in wheelchairs.

 

How Do I Get Off the Bus?

If you aren’t sure where your stop is located, just ask the driver to call it out for you. Our drivers will do their best to help.

As the bus nears your stop, pull the cord above the windows. This signals the driver to stop at the next stop.

Please exit the bus through the rear doors. This leaves the front area clear for people who are getting on the bus and helps keep the bus running smoothly and on schedule.

 

How Do I Pay My Fare?

If you're paying by cash, just put your exact fare into the fare box when you board. Our fare boxes accept paper money and coins. Please make certain you have the correct fare (as a reminder, there’s a sign at the bottom of the front window that lists the fare for that route) because our drivers and fare boxes do not make change. Also, to speed boarding, have your fare ready before you get on. For more information on cash fares, visit our Fares section. If you're using an MTS token, just put the token in the coin slot of the fare box. There are discounted fares for senior citizens and persons with disabilities with proper ID.

If you're using a Regional Monthly Pass, just show it to the driver as you board, then sit down. It's that easy! If you're a regular rider, monthly passes are convenient and a great way to save money. They’re sold at our downtown Transit Store, online, through the mail, and at Albertsons stores and other select locations. There are discounted Monthly Transit Passes for senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and youths under 18 with proper ID.

If you’re visiting San Diego, a Day Pass is a great way to ride and save. It allows unlimited riding on the day (or days) specified on the pass. Simply show your Day Pass to the driver when you board the bus.     

 

What If I Need To Take More Than One Bus?

If you’re riding with a Regional Monthly Pass or Day Pass, just show the pass to the driver each time you board.

MTS does not issue transfers. Passengers holding a $72 Regional Monthly Pass ($36 for youths and $18 for seniors & disabled) may ride buses and trolleys with a fare of up to $2.50. To ride our Rapid Express buses, a $100 Regional Monthly Pass ($50 for youths and $25 for seniors & disabled) is required. Regional Monthly Passes and Day Passes are valid for a $2.00 discount on COASTER fares (the $14 Rapid Express Day pass is good for full fare on the COASTER).  

Free transfers are not available. You must pay the full fare on each bus you take.  If your trip involves more than one bus or the trolley and a bus, consider purchasing a Day Pass, which allows unlimited rides for the duration of the service day.

 

What Do I Do If I Lose Something On the Bus?

Just call Lost and Found. For your convenience, there are Lost and Found offices in different parts of the county. Your passenger timetable lists the correct the Lost and Found phone number to call for the route on which you lost your article.

 

Can I Take My Bicycle On the Bus?

Yes, you can take your bicycle on any bus! Most buses have racks on the front that can accommodate up to two bicycles, while the I-15 Rapid Express buses have compartments underneath to store multiple bikes. When the bus pulls up to your stop, just tell the driver that you’ll be securing your bike to the rack and the driver will wait for you. Then board and pay your fare. When you get off the bus, be sure to tell the driver you'll be removing your bike.

 

Can The Bus Accommodate My Mobility Aid?

Certainly. Our buses are equipped with either a lift or ramp to make it easy for persons using a wheelchair, walker, or other mobility aid to board. The Courtesy Seating area at the front of the bus has seats that lift up to accommodate riders in wheelchairs. Our buses also "kneel" to reduce the distance from the curb to the first step.

 

Welcome Aboard!

We know that riding a bus can sometimes seem a little intimidating, especially if it’s new to you. That's why MTS is committed to making your bus ride as simple, safe, and convenient as possible. Our Regional Transit Information Office will give you all the information you need to make your trip. Our drivers will be happy to help you along the way. So, hop aboard and join our 200,000 daily riders who have discovered how convenient and economical it is to ride MTS!

 

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