Open the App or Whip out your Pronto card, which looks like a credit card and hop on a trolley or bus.
That’s good for all day traveling around San Diego via the city’s great public transportation system. The cost: just $6 per day.
Yes, San Diego has a great public transportation system. This article tells you about it and also points out why you should use it to get around this sunny city.
And yes, it’s only $6, which means you an hop on and hop off any trolley line and bus throughout the day and into night, as late as 12:30 in some areas.
The Coronado ferry, which cost $14 for an all-day round-trip ticket, is not part of the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), tho there is a bus from downtown to the island.
The San Diego Public Transportation Options
San Diego’s public transportation system is highlighted by its red trolley cars. This is actually called a light rail in most other cities, but things are more casual here in San Diego than most other places, so here it’s a trolley.
The most heavily-used line is the Green Line, which goes from the Gaslamp/Convention Center to Old Town (it goes farther than that but most people take it to Old Town). This ride is just 15 minutes. From there you can take buses to just about everywhere in the city. I use this combination to get to Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and even La Jolla. The bus ride is about 30 minutes. And the buses are air conditioned.
Other lines go east to El Cajon (Orange Line) and south to the Mexican border (Blue Line), where you can simply step across into the other country and take a short taxi ride into the heart of Tijuana.
The buses are all over the place. Just look for a sign. It has a number on the sign and a route map. Here, it’s best to do a bit of research ahead of time so you know you’re getting on the correct bus. The Trip Planner section on the App shows the next scheduled buses. And they actually arrive on time. Is that great or what!?
And if you think that’s great, there’s even something called Free Ride Everywhere Downtown (FRED), which is transportation in oversized golf carts that provide free rides through the Gaslamp and even to Little Italy and Balboa Park. You download and app and it works similar to Uber or Lyft. You do tip the driver, naturally.
Why You Should Use San Diego’s Public Transportation System
Because the transportation is efficient, on time and goes to pretty much everywhere in the city, you don’t need to clog the freeways and surface streets with your vehicle. Chances are, you’ll arrive in the same amount of time it takes to drive, and you don’t have to put up with traffic.
It’s also better for pollution, getting vehicles off the roads and – let’s face it – arriving at your destination in a relaxed frame of mind rather than frazzled by being cut off by some jerk driver or sitting in traffic.
Here’s another thing: the trolleys and buses run until 1 a.m. That means you can use them to go out to various nightlife parts of the city and not have to worry about parking. Or, most importantly, drinking and driving.