PRONTO Reduced Fare Online Application FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you applying for a free or reduced fare for the first time? You can apply through this website, or go in-person to the MTS Transit Store or NCTD Customer Service location.

CURRENT REDUCED FARE PRONTO CARD HOLDERS: Riders currently using a reduced or free transit fare (including the Youth Opportunity Pass) that got their SDM or Youth card from a community event, school, or community organization, or who called in over the phone or online since July 2021 were given temporary approval for a reduced fare. You must provide a document that proves you qualify for an SDM or Youth PRONTO account by June 30, 2024 to keep riding with your discount. If you miss this deadline, your account will be converted back to standard Adult pricing.

Options for checking status include:

Renewal Required

  • Visit RidePRONTO.com and access your account. Look for the “Renewal Required” on the “My Cards” page within your account (see above).
  • Call the PRONTO Support Center at 619-595-5636 (weekdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
  • Visit the Transit Store at 1255 Imperial Avenue, San Diego, CA (weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Visit the NCTD Customer Service locations:  
    • Oceanside Transit Center, 205 S. Tremont Street, Oceanside, CA 92054 (weekdays 7  a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    • Vista Transit Center 100 Olive Avenue, Vista, CA 92083 (weekdays 8 a.m.  to 5 p.m.)
    • Escondido Transit Center 700 W. Valley Parkway, Escondido, CA 92025 (daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

Anyone applying for a new or extended reduced fare is required to provide proof of eligibility. Riders can apply online through the new Reduced Fare Online Application, in-person at the MTS Transit Store or at any of the three NCTD Customer Service locations. (See question 11 “Applying In-Person or Online: Which is better?” for details on which is the better option for you.)

In addition, riders who received reduced fare eligibility via the MTS website, received a PRONTO card at an outreach event or converted their eligibility status over the phone since July 2021, were given temporary eligibility. As such, those riders are required to provide proof of age (youth and seniors) or other eligibility (disabled and Medicare riders) before June 30, 2024. Failure to provide proof of eligibility before the deadline (June 30, 2024) will result in a loss of access to free or reduced fares.

Anyone with a PRONTO Photo ID card does not need to provide proof of eligibility. 

No. Riders with a current, valid PRONTO Photo ID Card have already provided their proof of eligibility to MTS and NCTD, and do not need to do so again until the expiration date on their PRONTO Photo ID Card. 

Also, riders who have a photo on file (either submitted online or taken in-person at the MTS Transit Store or NCTD Customer Service location) will no longer need to carry proof that they qualify for reduced fares when riding transit. Fare inspectors can use your photo to visually verify that the person using your pass matches the PRONTO profile photo associated with your account.

To use the online application, riders will need the following:

  • An email address (to login or register for PRONTO account)
  • Government Issued Photo ID and/or qualifying documentation (varies by reduced fare type, see examples here)
  • Profile picture (see examples)
  • If ordering a new PRONTO card, a valid credit card (Visa, Mastercard or Discover)

Click here for a step-by-step tutorial video.

Click here for a step-by-step tutorial video on using the Reduced Fare Online Application!

Please note: If you are not a Senior or Youth rider with a government-issued photo ID showing your birthdate, please expect up to 10 business days for reduced fare approval. If you need approval sooner than 10 business days, go to the MTS Transit Store or NCTD Customer Service locations for assistance. If you need immediate approval for a reduced fare, please call the PRONTO Support Center at 619-595-5636, as they may be able to assist you with temporary approval.

First, visit RidePRONTO.com to access the Reduced Fare Online Application. If you haven’t already, you will need to register for a PRONTO account. Depending on what pass you are applying for, you will need one of these documents below:

Youth (18 and under):

  • Birth Certificate OR A valid government-issued photo ID with birthdate (preferred) OR
  • K-12 School ID OR
  • School Enrollment form or transcripts (see example)
  • Youth under 13 will also need a parent or guardian to assist them with the process

Seniors (65+ or born on or before September 1, 1959):

  • A valid government-issued photo ID with birthdate (includes driver's license, senior ID card, permanent residency card, passport, foreign ID card, etc.)

Medicare:

  • Medicare card + government-issued photo ID

Disabled:

  • DMV Placard ID (Receipt) + a government-issued photo ID
  • Veterans Administration Award Letter confirming a minimum 50% service connected disability + a government-issued photo ID
  • NCTD or other California transit agency unexpired reduced fare disabled or complementary paratransit ID + government-issued photo ID (if no photo included on disabled ID)
  • MTS or NCTD Long-Form Approval Letter + government-issued photo ID

Once your PRONTO account is set-up:

  1. Add your information to your profile including your PRONTO card number, if you already have one, OR add your billing and shipping information if you are ordering a new card. 
  2. In the application, you’ll select the type of reduced fare you are applying for, then provide your basic information (name and birthdate).
  3. Upload your proof of eligibility documents and/or photo ID card.
  4. Next, you’ll be required to upload a profile picture (ie: selfie, picture should be a clear photo of your face, facing the camera). If applying for automatic qualification (seniors or youth 13+), you will be prompted to take a live selfie. All other applicants can upload a saved profile picture. Examples of accepted/rejected profile pictures coming soon.

Once your application has been submitted, you will either receive automatic approval (available for seniors and youth 13+), or you will be directed to our manual verification process (up to 10 business days for review/approval) where a member of the PRONTO Support Team will review your application documents and grant or deny a reduced fare.

Once you have been approved for a reduced fare, you can view your eligibility expiration date under ‘My Cards’ in your PRONTO account online.  

Senior and Youth riders with a valid government issued photo ID showing their birthdate may be approved automatically and have their account status updated immediately. For all other riders, the manual verification process may take up to 10 business days. If you do not qualify for the automatic approval process in the online application and cannot apply in-person, but need immediate access to a reduced fare, please call PRONTO Support at 619-595-5636 for further assistance.

Once approved, your account (through the PRONTO card or app) will be updated in the system. You can check the status of your account online at RidePRONTO.com under the ‘My Cards’ section. If your request is rejected, you will receive an email to the email address assigned to your PRONTO account. 

Account Status

 

 

Visit RidePRONTO.com and access your account. If your PRONTO card says ‘Adult,’ your application has not been approved yet. If it says ‘SDM’ or ‘Youth,’ your reduced fare status has been verified and your card is ready to use with the discounted fare rates. 

Look for the “Renewal Required” on the “My Cards” page within your account to see when your reduced fare status expires. Please note: seniors will see an expiration date 20 years in the future, but will have their senior status extended automatically. 

Reduced fare eligibility varies by the category and type of documentation provided.

  • Youth: Expires on last day of the month of your 19th birthday.
  • Senior: Never expires. (Seniors will see an expiration date far in the future, however the PRONTO Support Team will automatically extend/update expiring senior accounts as needed.)
  • All other reduced fare classifications (Medicare, SSI/SSDI, Disabled, Veteran) will have variable dates pending what shows on the corresponding eligibility documentation. You can find your expiration date in your PRONTO account online (see ‘Renewal Required’ under ‘My Cards’), or call PRONTO Support at 619-595-5636.

MTS and NCTD have historically required all customers seeking an SDM or Youth reduced fare to verify their eligibility. When MTS and NCTD transitioned their fare collection system to PRONTO in September 2021, the Reduced Fare Online Application was not yet developed. To limit disruption of service to riders with a reduced fare, a temporary approval was granted on the honor system in order to allow SDM and Youth riders to continue traveling with the appropriate discounted fare.  

Now that the Reduced Fare Online Application is available MTS and NCTD need to ensure those riding in the Reduced Fare category are actually eligible. As such, the resumption of mandatory verification will be required for all riders seeking a reduced fare beginning in December 2023.

Providing your proof of eligibility for reduced fare ensures that you can travel without interruption for the longest period of time possible. Youth will have their eligibility set through the last day of the month of their 19th birthday. Senior eligibility will never expire. All other reduced fare eligibility will be determined by the date of validity on your qualifying documentation. 

In addition, riders who have a photo on file (either submitted online or taken in-person at the MTS Transit Store or NCTD Customer Service location) will no longer need to carry proof of eligibility when riding MTS or NCTD services. Fare inspectors and operators can visually verify that the person riding with the reduced fare matches the PRONTO profile photo associated with that card. 

The new PRONTO Reduced Fare Online Application offers a new, convenient way to apply for reduced fare status. With the online application, you can apply for a reduced fare anywhere, anytime – saving many riders time. However, there are instances where applying in-person may be more beneficial or necessary.

Applying Online:

  • Are a Senior (over 65) or Youth (18 and under) with a government-issued photo ID card
  •  Unable or unwilling to visit the MTS Transit Store or NCTD Customer Service locations on weekdays during business hours
  • Have access to a mobile device and or laptop/computer with a camera function
  • Able to comfortably navigate online processes

Applying In-Person:

  • Do not have an email address (required to set-up PRONTO account)
  • Need to purchase a new PRONTO Card and do not have an accepted credit card (Visa, Mastercard or Discover)
  • Want a PRONTO photo ID card (first card is free at NCTD)
  • Cannot wait up to 10 business days for approval (seniors or youth 13+ with a government-issued photo ID card may be granted automatic approval through the online application)
  • Prefer face-to-face assistance from an MTS or NCTD staff
  • Are unfamiliar with navigating online processes

To verify your eligibility for a reduced fare in-person, you can visit:

  • The MTS Transit Store (same-day approval) in downtown San Diego (weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • NCTD Customer Service locations (Same-day approval for Youth, Senior, Disabled and Medicare riders. Other disability qualifiers may take up to 10 days) at the Oceanside Transit Center (weekdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), the Vista Transit Center (weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), or the Escondido Transit Center (daily, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

Call PRONTO Support at 619-595-5636, or visit the MTS Transit Store (1255 Imperial Avenue, San Diego, CA) or one of the following NCTD Customer Service locations:

  • Oceanside Transit Center, 205 S. Tremont Street, Oceanside, CA 92054 (weekdays 7  a.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Vista Transit Center 100 Olive Avenue, Vista, CA 92083 (weekdays 8 a.m.  to 5 p.m.)
  • Escondido Transit Center 700 W. Valley Parkway, Escondido, CA 92025 (daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)