Free Transit for Youth 18 and Under with PRONTO

Youth riders: Get ready to ride! FREE public transportation in San Diego County is now available to anyone age 18 and under with a Youth PRONTO app account or Youth PRONTO card.

The Youth Opportunity Pass (YOP) is a pilot program sponsored by SANDAG and the County of San Diego through June 30, 2023. Youth can use a Youth PRONTO app account or card for free rides on all fixed-route MTS buses and Trolleys, and the North County Transit District’s FLEX, BREEZE, SPRINTER and COASTER. Youth riders must carry eligible identification to verify their status as a youth and must tap or scan their PRONTO app or card before every ride.

Who Can Ride with YOP

People aged 6 through 18 with a Youth PRONTO card or Youth PRONTO app account will ride free with YOP. Riders using the YOP need to travel with proof of eligibility, e.g. a current year school picture ID, birth certificate, or government-issued photo ID (driver’s license or real ID). Youth can also opt to get a photo ID PRONTO card that will serve as their Youth Pass and proof of eligibility. Photo ID cards are available at the MTS Transit Store or NCTD Customer Service Centers. Children age 5 and under always ride free on all MTS and NCTD routes, and do not need to have a PRONTO card.

How to Ride

Plan Your Trip. To get started, riders can use the online Trip Planner tool (also available within the PRONTO app) to find which route(s) best serve their destination. To use the online trip planner, enter your starting and ending destinations, then select the time you want to leave (‘Depart At’) or ‘Arrive By’ to see which route(s) and travel times are available. Real-time arrival information is available in the PRONTO app (see ‘Departures’), online at, or through the OneBusAway app.

PRONTO Validator for your card or app

Tap or Scan – Every Trip, Every Time! When you get to the bus stop or rail station, have your PRONTO card or app account ready. You must tap your card or scan your app every time you ride! Find a validator at the rail station before you board the Trolley to tap or scan; validators are located at the front of buses when you board. Tapping your card or scanning the app is the only way to show you have a valid YOP to ride for free.

Headway Signs

Boarding the Bus or Trolley: Remember, some stops or stations have multiple routes. Look for the headway signs on the front of the vehicle to make sure it is the correct route, and correct direction of travel. Buses and vehicles will make automated announcements of the next stop. The Trolley will stop at every station automatically, but on the bus, you must pull the yellow cord above the seat to request a stop.

Safety: Safety is always a top priority at MTS. Please follow the safety rules for riding. Riders should always be aware of their surroundings, and keep their belongings near them. If you ever have a safety or security concern when riding, please keep our Security team’s Ride Assured number handy. You can text them 24/7 for assistance: 619-318-1338 (or call 619-595-4960)

Explore More of San Diego

Remember that there is no limit on the number of rides you can take! Use public transit to get to school, get to practice, get to work, go to a Padres game, to visit a friend, go to a museum and more.

Check out our Fun Places brochure to get an idea of some of the popular destinations in San Diego to explore!

Click here to get full details about the Youth Opportunity Pass program.