Free Ride Day Announced for San Diego Transit Systems

Free Ride Day being celebrated in cities across San Diego 

San Diego – The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and North County Transit District (NCTD) announced today that the agencies will hold “Free Ride Day” on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Fixed-route bus and rail services will be free for everyone to use. Free Ride Day is being held in conjunction with SANDAG iCommute efforts to promote National Rideshare Week to educate people about the sustainable transportation choices available in the San Diego Region.

“We are hosting Free Ride Day to encourage San Diego residents to shake up their routine and choose transit,” said Paul Jablonski, MTS Chief Executive Officer. “San Diego has a growing and thriving network of transportation options. Free Ride Day is designed to provide everyone an easy way to leave their cars at home and discover the advantages of taking transit.”

“We invite people across San Diego County to try out our services and see how this part of the transit toolkit in our region works for them. Thousands of people have benefited from these services and we hope that thousands more will join them,” said Matthew Tucker, NCTD executive director.

Free Ride Day will be valid on all MTS and NCTD fixed-routes services including buses, the Trolley, SPRINTER and COASTER (NCTD LIFT and Amtrak R2R trains are not part of this promotion). Passengers will not need a Compass Card for either system. MTS and NCTD services will operate on a normal weekday schedule. Participants who plan to choose transit on Free Ride Day are encouraged to RSVP through the MTS Facebook page event, or online at the Free Ride Day webpage. When they do they’ll receive reminders about Free Ride Day, tips for taking transit and more.

Free Ride Day is being supported by all cities in the region, the County of San Diego, and other major employers. Everyone is using the day to encourage the increased use of transit.

“Choosing transit is absolutely critical for this region as we all strive to meet our climate action goals,” said Georgette Gomez, MTS Board Chair. “We need to do everything we can to get people to use alternative modes of transportation. Our environment depends on it.”

“NCTD’s services and rail lines help reduce automobile and freight traffic on the roads and supports economic growth,” said Rebecca Jones, NCTD Board Chair.  “This Free Ride Day provides an opportunity for folks to use our services and experience the benefits that it provides to the customers that use it today.”

“The SANDAG iCommute program is proud to be a part of this joint effort with MTS and NCTD. Our mission is to educate and support San Diegans with alternative methods of transportation,” said SANDAG Chair and Del Mar City Councilmember Terry Sinnott. “We encourage all single riders to consider giving carpool, vanpool or transit a try during Rideshare Week. Our hope is that it will become a part of every commuter’s daily routine.”

SANDAG, MTS, and NCTD have partnered to celebrate National Rideshare Week. On Monday, October 1 through Friday, October 5 transportation organizations here and around the country will celebrate the many benefits of commuter alternatives.

MTS has recently made many investments in its service to increase frequency and speed service. Check out its high-frequency network here.  In October 2017, NCTD implemented changes to improve its services and is now advancing the implementation of a new website and customer relationship management system. NCTD also recently approved the purchase of five new locomotives and announced an increase in COASTER trips once these vehicles arrive.

To plan a trip on transit, just go to the MTS or NCTD website and enter your starting and end points. It will display a series of travel options. And for Free Ride Day, just get on board, sit down and relax.

Free Ride Day is part of an overall campaign to show people how transit can fit into many lifestyles. A series of videos have been created highlighting why people take transit and why they should choose transit on Oct. 2.

Take Your Commute Back – Taking transit gives you more time for you. Read, text, stare out of the window - let your mind wander while you make your way between work and home. It gives you the freedom to change your plans last minute and meet a friend for a coffee, or to stop at the store without looking for parking.

Find Your Own Rhythm - Creative people know that inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. You might find it where you least expect it - like on your ride to work. Capture the moment.

Define Yourself – Your choices show the world what you are. Show your dedication to the environment – and your community – by adding your voice to those of so many others by taking public transportation. Transit is the backbone of a strong neighborhood and strong neighborhoods make up vibrant cities.

For Her Future – What will the planet be like for your kids? Your choices today can protect the earth for their future.

About the Partners

MTS operates 95 bus routes and three Trolley lines on 53 miles of double-tracked railway. Every weekday more than 300,000 passenger trips are taken on MTS bus and Trolley services in 10 cities and the county. In FY 2017, MTS served more than 88 million riders. For more information on how you can use public transportation and save money, go to  

The North County Transit District is a public transportation agency providing over 10 million passenger trips annually throughout North San Diego County and into downtown San Diego. NCTD’s system includes BREEZE buses (with FLEX service), COASTER commuter trains, SPRINTER hybrid rail trains, and LIFT paratransit service. NCTD’s mission is to deliver safe, convenient, reliable and user-friendly public transportation services. For more information visit:

Powered by SANDAG and in cooperation with the 511 transportation information service, iCommute is the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program for the San Diego region. iCommute encourages use of transportation alternatives to help reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. To learn more, visit