Contactless Payment

Contactless Payment is coming soon! With the new contactless payment option riders will be able to tap-to-pay and ride away!

With a contactless payment option riders on MTS and NCTD will be able to pay their fare with the direct tap of a debit or credit card or other contactless payment options such as a smartphone or smartwatch.

Most debit or credit cards, smartphones, and wearables like Apple Watches, FitBits, and Samsung Watches are equipped with contactless payment options and will be accepted on system fare validators to pay.

By tapping any of these payment methods on bus or station validators your fare can be processed in seconds. Just look for the fare validator when entering a rail platform or boarding the bus.


Contactless Payment: Frequently Asked Questions

Contactless Payment offers an easy way to pay for transit fares on MTS buses and Trolleys, and NCTD COASTER, SPRINTER, FLEX and BREEZE services.

Just tap your contactless credit/debit card or mobile wallet on the fare validator to purchase a one-way transit pass.

No PRONTO card or app is needed.

It’s great for riders on-the-go who want to bypass lines at the ticket vending machine or who don’t have a PRONTO account.

Most debit or credit cards, smartphones, and wearables like Apple Watches, FitBits, and Samsung Watches are equipped with contactless pay options and can be used on system fare validators to pay.

Most services cost $2.50 for a one-way fare. Your fare will be valid for two (2) hours. During that time you can board any combination of MTS buses and the Trolley, or NCTD BREEZE buses and SPRINTER trains. Premium services like Rapid 280 or 290, or rural routes may include an additional charge.

On NCTD COASTER Commuter Rail, tap on with your contactless credit card or virtual card on your payment enabled smartphones then tap off using the same card to pay the one-way adult fare based on the number of zones you travel. 1 Zone is $5.00, 2 Zones is $5.75, and 3 zones is $6.50. Customers that do not tap off will be charged the Zone 3 fare. COASTER one-way fares include free transfers to BREEZE bus and SPRINTER rail within two (2) hours of purchase. Transfers to MTS Trolley or bus are not included for COASTER trips. Tap the same card for valid transfer.

Just look for the contactless symbol when you board the bus or on validators on rail station platforms.

You must tap on the fare validators before boarding – every time, every ride (even when you transfer).

On the COASTER, you need to tap on AND tap off every time, every ride with the exact same credit card or any payment enabled mobile device (phone, watch, etc.).

Keep in mind there is no fare capping with Contactless Payment at this time. Meaning, you will continue to be charged for a one-way adult fare for every trip you take throughout the day.

Not yet. While we see fare capping being added at some point, it is not part of this initial rollout of Contactless Payment. If you don’t want to be charged more than the cost of a Day Pass in a single day or a Month Pass in a single month, it’s worth considering using a PRONTO card or the PRONTO app.


No. Each person will need a different credit card, as Contactless Payment can only be used for one rider at a time.

Riders 18 and under ride free with the Youth Opportunity Pass.

Riders 5 and under ride free – no pass is required.

No. For Contactless Payment you must tap on the fare validator located at each end of the platform before boarding the Trolley, SPRINTER and COASTER. You can purchase a fare through the PRONTO fare collection system at the ticket vending machine with credit cards, but the contactless payment option with credit cards or enabled smartphones will only work on bus and station validators.

No. Contactless Payment is only able to charge Adult one-way fares.

Transfer rules are the same for Contactless Payment as PRONTO stored value, however there is currently no fare capping with Contactless Payment. Depending on where you board first, the following transfers are free within two (2) hours of the first tap. Tap the same card at each stop on your trip.

Click here to see the transfer rules for Contactless Payment.

No. There is no transferring of funds from a PRONTO account to a credit card account.

Depending on your credit card issuer, you may see an authorization ranging from immediately to a day later. The temporary authorization will be replaced by the total charges for the day based on your taps, and should post to your account within 2-5 business days. In cases where your credit card was not able to be charged on the day of travel, the bank will attempt to recover the debt over the next several days.

Fare inspections will take place the same way as it does with a PRONTO card or app. Code Compliance Inspectors and Train Conductors will use a handheld device to tap your credit card or enabled smartphone. Inspectors will not be able to charge your credit card.

Please call the PRONTO Support Center for any questions related to using Contactless Payment:

(619) 595-5636

  • Monday – Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: Closed

The column on the left represents the side you will be boarding from originally. The column across the top is where you will be transferring to.

 Bus Service (Transferring To)Rail Service (Transferring To)
Bus Service (Tranferring From - First Tap)
MTS Regional or Rapid    
MTS Rapid Express (280/290)/Premium    
MTS Rural    
COASTER Connection    
Rail Service (Tranferring From - First Tap)

Regional: standard MTS bus service (most MTS bus routes qualify under Regional)

BREEZE: NCTD standard bus service (most NCTD bus routes qualify under BREEZE)

Premium: MTS Bus Routes 280, 290

FLEX: Fixed-route buses that can deviate a certain distance from the route for flexible pick-ups and drop-offs

Rural: Primarily routes that operate in the rural areas of San Diego County (i.e. Routes 888, 891, 892, 894)

COASTER: NCTD heavy rail service

COASTER Connection: Weekday-only bus connections from the Sorrento Valley COASTER Station

Trolley: MTS light rail service

SPRINTER: NCTD light rail service