The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) board of directors is recommending fare changes that would cut costs for youth one-way fares and allow free transfers for one-way fares within two hours of the first boarding.
The recommended changes are expected to go to the North County Transit District (NCTD) for its recommendation and then to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Transportation Committee for final approval.
“This has been a tremendous process to involve the public and evolve a fare policy recommendation that will provide riders with many benefits and prioritize equity,” said Nathan Fletcher, MTS board chair and chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “These fare changes are truly a reflection of what our communities want.”
The MTS staff proposal included several recommendations to accommodate a new fare collection system called PRONTO. If approved by NCTD and SANDAG, these changes would take effect when the agency’s Compass Card system is replaced by PRONTO in mid-2021. Changes include:
- Adopt “best fare” functionality for PRONTO, allowing riders to earn day passes and monthly passes without paying for them upfront.
- Reduce youth one-way fares from $2.50 to $1.25.
- Allow free transfers for one-way fares within two hours of the first boarding for riders with PRONTO accounts.
- Fund revenue shortfalls through fiscal year FY 2024 with Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds through 2024.
MTS continues to operate about 95 bus routes and three trolley lines. Frequencies and spans have been restored to near-pre-COVID-19 levels, and updated schedules can be accessed on the MTS website.