MTS (Bus and Trolley) has so many fare options, it can be overwhelming to know how to pay. Let me try and break it down for you.
MTS has several types of fares:
- Cash (single ride)
- Day Pass (1-14 days)
- Monthly and 30-day Passes
MTS accepts exact cash fare only on MTS Buses. No transfers are allowed. Trolley ticket vending machines accept cash, debit card, and credit card for all fare types. They only give up to $5 in change (some locations give up to $15 in change).
|Route Type||Full Fare/
|Blue, Orange, Green Line||$2.50/$1.25||Same direction of travel on Trolley only|
If you are riding more than three vehicles (Buses or Trolley) in a day, then you should purchase a Day Pass before you board your first vehicle.
A Day Pass is good for unlimited rides on Trolley and Bus until the end of the service day (2:00 a.m. the next day). MTS sells Day Passes in 1, 2, 3, 4, and 14-day increments. There are no Senior/Disabled/Medicare discounts for the 1, 2, 3, or 4-day pass.
|Day Pass Type||Reg
How to purchase a Day Pass:
- If your first trip is on the Trolley,
- Go to the ticket vending machine. You can only purchase a Day Pass on the Compass Card. The Compass Card is a plastic card that holds your fare electronically. If you don't already have one, you must pay $2 for the card, plus the cost of your pass. If you already have one, then you only pay for the cost of a pass.
- Follow the menu options on the TVM to select the type of fare you are purchasing. You may pay with cash, debit card, or credit card. Some TVMs don't take debit card or credit card, but one machine at each station does, so look at the other machine if the machine you are using doesn't accept your desired payment type. Most machines only give up to $5 change.
- You must tap your Compass Card on the TVM or on the smaller ticket validation modules in each station before you ride. A Green light means "GO", a red light means "INVALID", and a yellow light means "EXPIRES SOON".
- If your first trip is on the Bus,
- Tell the driver you would like to purchase a Day Pass. If you have a Compass Card already, tap your card on the bus farebox, put $5 cash into the farebox, then tap your Compass Card again. Your card is loaded with a Day Pass.
- If you don't already have a Compass Card, you must purchase a paper Day Pass. A paper Day Pass costs $7. Tell the operator you are purchasing a paper Day Pass and put $7 into the farebox. Once you have the paper Day Pass, you can take it to The Transit Store and trade it in for a Compass Card with a Day Pass on it.
Monthly passes provide the best discount if you will be riding often during a calendar month or a 30-day period. They are only available on Compass Card. If you don't already have a Compass Card, add $2 to the cost of your first pass to pay for the Compass Card. Keep the Compass Card and reload each month.
You can purchase/reload a Monthly Pass or 30-day pass at the following locations:
- The Transit Store (The corner of 1st Avenue and Broadway in Downtown San Diego, open 9:00am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday)
- Albertsons in San Diego County (find locations)
- Select other locations
- Trolley Ticket Vending Machines
- Online (warning, it takes a LONG time because the card has to be mailed to you)
- By Phone (call 511 in San Diego County and say "Compass", it takes a LONG time because the card has to mailed to you)
A Monthly Pass for MTS Trolley and non-Premium Bus routes costs $72 for Adults, $36 for Youth ages 5 through 18, and $18 for Senior/Disabled/Medicare card holders. There are two types of passes.
- Monthly: good for any particular calendar month
- 30-day: good for any 30-day consecutive period
A Monthly Pass for MTS Trolley and Premium Bus routes costs $100 for Adults, $50 for Youth ages 5 through 18, and $25 for Senior/Disabled/Medicare card holders.
You can reload your Compass Card with a new monthly/30-day pass before the current one expires so that you don't have a gap in passes. You can only have two of any pass on your Compass Card at one time (for example, you can only buy up to two 30-day passes at one time if your card is empty).