As a student 18 or under, you can ride the bus, Trolley, COASTER, and SPRINTER for free. This does NOT include NCTD LIFT or MTS Access paratransit services, and other special services may be exempt. Use on Amtrak Pacific Surfliner (south of Oceanside ONLY) is permitted under with some blackout dates - use the COASTER validator to board.
To start, you'll need to download the PRONTO app and create an account. You can get the app on Android or Apple devices. Once you're logged in, click "Create Virtual Card" and create an Adult card. Then, fill out this form and the card will be converted to Youth. After that, you'll be ready to tap and ride!
Yes. You need to validate your PRONTO card or app every ride, every time. This includes changing trains at transfer stations, or when transferring to a bus. This allows us to validate your age and collect data about who's riding. Plus, more riders and a stronger system help us get the funding we need to keep running trains and buses on time!
Validators are located throughout Trolley, SPRINTER and COASTER platforms, and at the entrance of all MTS and NCTD buses. Ticket machines are not validators, so be sure to look for the purple validator on the platform and tap or scan before boarding a train or while boarding a bus. If boarding at a station that has both Trolley and COASTER, please be aware of which validator you are using.
Yes. Bus and Trolley drivers are experienced, fully trained commerical drivers. Stations and vehicles are consistently patrolled by transit enforcement, SDPD, and helpful MTS ambassadors. If you need public safety support, you can text MTS Ride Assured at 619.318.1338.