Anyone 18 and Under Can Ride Transit for Free with PRONTO!
Beginning May 1, anyone 18 and under will be able to ride the bus, Trolley, COASTER, and SPRINTER for free through the new SANDAG Youth Opportunity Pass pilot program. Eligible riders will need a Youth PRONTO app account or card to participate in the program. The Youth Opportunity Pass program is the first of its kind in the San Diego region.
SANDAG is partnering with Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), North County Transit District (NCTD), and the County of San Diego to launch the Youth Opportunity Pass pilot program. This effort is part of the SANDAG Transit Equity Pilot, which will help achieve a key goal of the 2021 Regional Plan to create a more equitable region by ensuring that safe, healthy, and accessible opportunities are available to everyone. The pilot includes:
- Free transit rides for anyone 18 and under from May 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023 (Youth Opportunity Pass Pilot Program)
- Increased transit service on weeknight and weekend routes in traditionally under-served areas of the region, estimated to begin in late 2022
- Collaboration with Community Based Organizations throughout the San Diego region to distribute Youth Opportunity Passes to youth and to educate residents on the existing and added services in their areas
- A research study to evaluate the benefits of the pilot program
Accessing the SANDAG Youth Opportunity Pass –
Riders who already have a youth PRONTO account don’t need to do anything to access the program. All rides will automatically be free starting May 1.
New PRONTO users have two options:
- Download the PRONTO app, register an account, then convert the account to Youth at sdmts.com/youth-opportunity-pass
- Pick up a free Youth PRONTO card from MTS, NCTD, or participating community organizations and schools in April and May
Youth will need to tap their PRONTO card or scan the app before boarding and carry proof of eligibility to ride for free. Proof of eligibility may include a current year school picture ID card, a valid government-issued photo ID, or birth certificate. Children 5 and under ride MTS and NCTD free when accompanied by a fare paying adult, and do not need a card or proof of eligibility. Youth cards will be available at the MTS Transit Store, NCTD Customer Service Centers, or at MTS and NCTD transit center events.
The Youth Opportunity Pass pilot program is funded by $6.13 million from SANDAG in partnership with the County of San Diego.
More information about the Youth Opportunity Pass pilot program and where to pick up a free youth PRONTO card, visit YouthOpportunityPass.sandag.org.
About MTS … MTS operates 95 bus routes and three Trolley lines across 10 cities and unincorporated areas of San Diego County. Frequencies and spans have been restored to near-pre-COVID-19 levels. Updated schedules can be accessed on the MTS website. MTS requires people to wear face coverings at all times, and practice physical distancing when possible.
About NCTD … The North County Transit District is a public transportation agency providing over 10 million passenger trips in Fiscal Year 2019 throughout North San Diego County and into downtown San Diego. NCTD is designated as a rail common carrier by the Surface Transportation Board based on the movement of interstate commerce on the tracks and the Railroad of Record by the Federal Railroad Administration responsible for safety over the entire San Diego portion of the LOSSAN corridor. NCTD’s system includes BREEZE buses (with FLEX service), COASTER commuter trains, SPRINTER hybrid rail trains, and LIFT paratransit service. NCTD’s mission is to deliver safe, convenient, reliable, and user-friendly public transportation services. For more information visit:GoNCTD.com
About SANDAG … SANDAG is the regional agency that connects people, places, and innovative ideas by implementing solutions with our unique and diverse communities. We are committed to creating a San Diego region where every person who visits, works, and lives can thrive.