About MTS

For more than 135 years, public transit has been serving the San Diego community and helping it thrive. The positive impacts of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) on our communities has been, and will continue to be, far-reaching. There are thousands of MTS employees who keep the fleet of nearly 1,000 vehicles maintained and operating every day. There are hundreds of thousands of people inside those vehicles that depend on transit to be productive. The all-electric Trolleys and near-zero emission buses reduce burdens associated with negative environmental impacts. And there are many more facts that show how our public transit system is a vital component to our region.

Board of Directors

15-member Board generally meets twice a month.  Members selected as follows:

  • Four appointed from the City of San Diego (the Mayor of San Diego and 3 San Diego City Council members)
  • Two appointed from the City of Chula Vista (the Mayor of Chula Vista and a Chula Vista City Council Member)
  • One appointed from each city council of Coronado, El Cajon, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City, Poway and Santee
  • One appointed from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors

Subsidiary Corporations

MTS owns assets of: San Diego Trolley, Inc. (SDTI); San Diego Transit Corporation (SDTC); and the San Diego & Arizona Eastern (SD&AE) Railway Company, which owns 108 miles of track and right-of-way. 

Areas of Jurisdiction

About 570 square miles of the urbanized areas of San Diego County as well as the rural parts of East County, 3240 total square miles, serving approximately 3 million people in San Diego County.


Provision of Services

MTS provides bus and rail services directly or by contract with private operators. MTS coordinates all its services and determines the routing, stops, frequencies and hours of operation.

Light Rail
Light rail service is operated by SDTI on four lines (the UC San Diego Blue, Orange, Green and Silver Lines) with a total of 62 stations and 65 miles of rail.

Almost 100 fixed bus routes and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit service (MTS Access).  Fixed route bus service includes local, urban, express, premium express and rural routes.

MTS contracts with the San Diego & Imperial Valley (SD&IV) Railroad and the Baja California Rail Road, Inc. (BJRR) to provide freight service to San Diego shippers over SD&AE right-of-way. SD&IV shares certain tracks with SDTI, operating during non-service Trolley hours.

Operating Budget

Approximately $300 million annual operating budget; one-third of that budget comes from fare revenue.


MTS generates 88 million annual passenger trips or 300,000 trips each weekday pre-COVID. To handle the demand, the agency schedules 7,000 trips each weekday, and has 160+ trolley cars and 750 buses in its fleet.

Planning and Scheduling 

MTS is responsible for the service planning, scheduling, and performance monitoring of all MTS transit services.  Service adjustments occur three times per year and as needed to improve efficiency and customer service.


MTS receives funding from various federal, state, and local sources. The primary sources are the California Transportation Development Act (TDA), Federal Transit Administration (sections 5307, 5337 and 5339), TransNet funds (local sales tax) and fares.

For-Hire Vehicle Administration

MTS licenses and regulates taxicabs, jitneys, and other private for-hire passenger transportation services by contract with the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City, Poway, and Santee.