Getting Around The City Utilizing Trolleys, Trains, Buses, My Feet & A Bicycle
Fed up with yet another expensive car repair for my BMW – $1,800 this time just to get the “check engine” light off in order to get it to pass the smog inspection so I could get the registration renewal sticker – I started looking at going carless in San Diego.
A few months later, I had no choice. As I was driving north on I-5 headed out of town, the car suddenly lost power. Smoke started pouring out of the tailpipe and then out from underneath the hood. Facing a $2,400 repair bill, I simply sold the car to the dealer where I had it towed.
I unexpectedly found myself without a car.
This would be an unimaginable thought in Los Angeles, where I had recently moved from, but it’s quite manageable here. This is because San Diego has an excellent public transportation with the trolley and buses that pretty much go everywhere, as well as a train and the Coaster.
The price for local transportation is also ridiculously cheap: just $6 for an all-day ticket.
So on my first day sans auto, here are five things I learned about going carless in San Diego.
1.) I Better Get Used To Walking
The trolley, train or bus stops rarely stop exactly where one is going, so right off the bat I realized this non-car thing is going to involve some walking. That’s okay, I enjoy walking and the weather is rarely a factor in San Diego.
2.) Utilize The Buses Along With The Trolley & Trains
Walking can become tiring so it’s important to combine using the buses along with the trolley and trains to get to and from a destination. And here’s a tip: if I have never taken that bus before or don’t know the area, I do not hesitate to tell the driver my destination and ask them which is the closest stop. The drivers are friendly and always provide the information.
3.) Take My Bike On The Trolley & Trains
I love riding a bike and do it for pleasure and exercise, and in fact will be utilizing it for some of my transportation needs. So I need to train myself to use it when I take the train, trolley and buses so I can roll right up to my destination.
4.) Use The Metropolitan Transit Website For Directions
Shockingly, this government service has a fully functional website. You’re better off simply Googling your destination rather than going to it directly. For instance, Google San Diego Transit To Mission Beach rather than going to the website, which is www.sdmts.com. That strategy dropped me right at the door of the AAA office to clear up some car business. It also saved me about $40 in Lyft or Uber costs.
5.) I Can’t Fill Up The Trunk With Groceries Or Shopping Items
I’m not a big shopper and most of the grocery items I need I can get in the Gaslamp. Still, every now and then there’s a need to go elsewhere and I can no longer fill my trunk full of stuff. I have to keep everything to what will fit in my backpack and one other bag I can carry. Whatever happens when I need to buy something big in size, say a lamp or a mop, then I’m not sure what will be my solution. Might have to do an Uber or Lyft in those times.
Conclusion On Being Carless In San Diego
It’s certainly possible and I’ll keep blogging about my carless adventures, both positive and negative.
Of course, for those who do want to have wheels, you can find a modern car with a lot of high-end tech at a very affordable price.
Go Po says
I hope it continues to get easier to remain carless in san diego. I see them increasing bike lanes which is great, I just wish they would increase frequency of service for bus routes.
Yes, I would like to see an expansion of the trolley system to the beaches. Otherwise they get one around town pretty good. Maybe the the bus routes depend on where one lives; they seem to be frequent enough in the areas I travel. Keep reading PubClub.com!
I’ve been car-less in San Diego since Sept 2020 when this was published. I moved from a duty station overseas and had the intent of getting a car…but the longer I waited the more I realized I didn’t really need a car. I’ve found the public transportation, ride shares, and renting to be far easier, cheaper, more convenient, and nicer. I also have become an avid biker and find little need for a car except on trips – the weather in San Diego makes biking easy. Although I can get a car, I’ve discovered a ton of cool nooks and crannies around San Diego – this far outweighs sitting in traffic or looking for parking.. San Diego is by far one of the easiest cities to go car-less!
Totally agree! So true about the biking and finding nooks & crannies as a result. Thanks for the comment!