Free ride day will take place on October 2 for all local Public Transit (Photo: NCTD)

Free Ride Day on countywide public transportation is back! On Wednesday, Oct. 2, all rides will be free on San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and North County Transit District (NCTD) services, including the Trolley, COASTER, SPRINTER and fixed-route buses. The day will also include significant discounts from Lyft and Bird for first and last-mile solutions.

This year, Free Ride Day is being held on California’s Clean Air Day, where residents across the state of California will take steps to reduce emissions and improve air quality.

“Free Ride Day is an opportunity for everyone to explore San Diego via transit,” said Georgette Gómez, City of San Diego Council President and Chair of the MTS Board of Directors. “On Free Ride Day, San Diegans have an opportunity to make a commitment to fight climate change by choosing transit to get to work, school or wherever they want to go.”

In the first-ever Free Ride Day last year, MTS saw more than 53,000 extra trips taken during the service day on buses and Trolleys. This year, MTS and NCTD hope to increase participation by 10%.

“We’re fortunate in our region to have public transit systems that access so much of the County,” said Tony Kranz, NCTD Board Chair and Encinitas Councilmember.  “By offering free rides on October 2, we want people to leave their cars at home that day and try transit. It’s important for our community and for our air quality that we embrace transit and see how it can fit into our daily commute.”

Locally, Free Ride Day is also being supported by the SANDAG iCommute Rideshare Week, cities, the County of San Diego and major employers throughout the region.

“We’re excited to partner again with MTS and NCTD to promote Free Ride Day as part of Rideshare Week, an annual event celebrating the many benefits of commute alternatives,” said SANDAG Vice Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “Commuters are encouraged to share the ride all week and take transit, carpool, or vanpool to work instead of driving alone to help reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.”

MTS and NCTD will have events at many transit stations across the county that day to give away prizes and provide customer support to those using transit for the first time. People who enter the Free Ride Day Giveaway (in-person at MTS pop-ups or on social media using the hashtag #sdfreerideday19) can win the grand prize – free transit for a year! Additional prizes include a one-night stay at the new Sycuan Casino Resort, SDSU football tickets, MTS Day Passes and more.

The public will also have access to discounts from the following local partners:

  • The Carlsbad Connector will be free to riders with promo code “FREETRANSIT.”
  • Bird will offer new Bird riders a free ride (up to $5) with promo code “SDMTS.”
  • Lyft will provide discounted rides to help with first- and last-mile solutions. Participants can use promo code “FREERIDEDAY” to get 25% off up to two rides to and from select transit stops.

To pledge to ride on Free Ride Day, and for more information about the event, visit sdmts.com/freerideday.


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