Skip navigation
navigation section title graphic for Auditor
navigation section title graphic for programs
navigation section title graphic for resources
navigation section title graphic for services
navigation section title graphic for newsletter

View Region newsletter


News Home | News Archive | Region Newsletter

Free Ride Day Announced for San Diego Transit Systems

Free Ride Day being celebrated in cities across San Diego 

August 21, 2018-- 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.

Project Manager(s)

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or