Metropolitan Transit System trolleys. Photo courtesy MTS

The San Diego Association of Governments and the region’s transit authorities will jointly host three virtual public meetings during the next week to collect input on proposed Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District transit fare changes.

During the virtual meetings — to be held Saturday at 10 a.m., Tuesday at 1 p.m. and Wednesday at 6 p.m. — attendees will have the opportunity to submit public comments, speak to staff members and learn more about the proposed changes.

All comments will be summarized and presented to the SANDAG Transportation Committee and MTS and NCTD boards of directors during the next few months. If approved by all three boards, the proposed changes will be implemented after May 1.

Two fare-adjustment scenarios are under consideration. One will include increases to regional monthly products from $72 to $75 for adults and from $23 to $24 for youth, seniors, disabled and Medicare riders.

Both scenarios will:

  • Reduce one-way cash fares for youth to align with the discounted Senior/Disabled/Medicare(S/D/M) cash fares
  • Increase adult one-way cash fares on the Trolley, Sprinter and most bus services from $2.50 to $2.75
  • Include “best-fare” capabilities for 1-day and monthly passes, except NCTD Coaster
  • Eliminate rolling 30-day passes
  • Increase MTS Access and NCTD Lift fares from $5 to $5.50

The regional fare system to be introduced this summer will allow riders the option to load money in their account online or on a mobile app in real time. Riders will also be able to use ticket vending machines, retail outlets, the Transit Store and customer service centers to load their accounts.

The new system will automatically deduct one-way fares each time a rider boards a vehicle and is intended to give the rider the best possible fare each day and throughout the month. Riders will still have the option to purchase a calendar monthly pass in advance. Coaster requires the pre-purchase of day and monthly passes.

To register for the public meetings and learn more, go to sdmts.com/fare-change. Comments can also be provided by calling 619-595-5321, emailing pio@sandag.org, using the online comment form or mailing written comments to SANDAG PIO, 401 B Street, Suite 800, San Diego, CA 92101. Comments are due by March 1.

The SANDAG Board of Directors approved the region’s first comprehensive fare ordinance encompassing fares on all public transit vehicles operated in San Diego County by MTS and NCTD in March 2006.

The Regional Fare Policy provides the regional framework for all transit fares. Any fare changes, such as increases or changes in fare types must be approved by the SANDAG Transportation Committee before being implemented.

–City News Service