- San Diego's Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and North County Transit District are offering free rides today to encourage public transit use.
- Fixed-route bus, rail, light rail and trolley trips will be free for everyone and riders do not have to use a payment card.
- Ride-share companies Lyft and Uber are also providing discounted rides to and from transit stops within San Diego County.
Transit ridership across the country is taking a hit, as shown in recent commute data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Buses still are by far the most used public transit option, but even that transportation mode lost riders over the previous year.
San Diego considers the Free Ride Day promotion not just beneficial for boosting transit ridership, but also for getting people to give up single-passenger vehicle trips and turn to more environmentally friendly transportation options.
"Choosing transit is absolutely critical for this region as we all strive to meet our climate action goals," MTS board chair Georgette Gomez said in a statement. "We need to do everything we can to get people to use alternative modes of transportation. Our environment depends on it."
The idea is similar to a pilot across five German cities which offered free public transportation rides to help the country meet its European Union air pollution targets. Along the same lines, Paris launched a study this spring to determine if free public transit would reduce emissions, shortly after the city started offering subsidies for people who gave up their cars and bought bikes.