Frequently Asked Questions
With PRONTO, you can ride free for the entire month of September. You must have a PRONTO card or the PRONTO mobile app account in order to get free rides during September.
To help make this as easy as possible, MTS will be doing community outreach in the month of September to give out free PRONTO cards, and help riders get registered for a PRONTO account. Read on below for some FAQs.
Riders will have many opportunities to pick-up a PRONTO card in-person.
- Visit the MTS Transit Store weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Find a date and time MTS will be at a transit center near you on the PRONTO Transit Center Outreach webpage)
Riders can also request a PRONTO card to be mailed to them by:
- Calling the PRONTO Support Center at 619-595-5636
- Completing the online application form. This option is only available for Adult PRONTO cards. Riders who qualify for a reduced fare should contact PRONTO Support, the Transit Store or visit an outreach event.
MTS will also be working with community-based organizations, social service agencies and employers to distribute PRONTO cards. If you currently get your Compass Card pass through an employer or social service agency, please contact your representative for more information on how/when you will receive your PRONTO card.
Riders can pick-up a free PRONTO card at ticket machines and participating retail partners.
- Ticket machines will issue a free PRONTO card, but require a minimum of $3 be added to the card at time of purchase.
- Retail partners will distribute one free PRONTO card per customer, but require a minimum of $5 be added to the card at time of purchase. You can find the list of retail partners here.
- Riders who qualify for a reduced fare and get a PRONTO card at a ticket machines or retails partners will need to contact the PRONTO Support team or the Transit Store to switch their account to a reduced fare. If not, they will be charged the full adult fare rate until they have their account switched.
PRONTO cards will be available at retail outlets, the MTS Transit Store and NCTD Customer Service Centers, and ticket vending machines. The available locations are listed on the card map. Some retail outlets will only load value onto cards and not sell cards. At time of purchase or reload, you will need to add a minimum of $5 onto your PRONTO account. You can also set-up an account with the PRONTO app on your smart phone. NOTE: Physical PRONTO cards and virtual cards on the PRONTO phone app are not interchangeable. They act as separate cards.
You can add a dollar value or a Month Pass to your account online, through the mobile app, at ticket vending machines, or at the MTS Transit Store or NCTD Customer Service Centers. Retail outlets will only add value to PRONTO accounts. They will not sell month or day passes.
Additionally, there will only be one PRONTO card type (no more SDM or Youth specific cards). Cards can be changed to reduced fare accounts at the MTS Transit Store or NCTD Customer Service Centers.
You will need a PRONTO card prior to setting up an account (unless you're using the mobile app). Once you have a card, you can register online here. You will need an email address to set-up a PRONTO account online. (Riders without an email address can register their card in-person at the Transit Store, or over the phone with the PRONTO Support team at 619-595-5636.)
Once in the account, you can:
- Add your PRONTO card number for balance protection and account management
- Link a credit or debit card for quick and easy payments.
- View your past trips and charges, monitor progress towards earning a Day or Month Pass, and more.
- You can also add family members to the same account to manage multiple PRONTO products in one place
If you wish to use the mobile app in addition to a physical card, you should use the same email address and login information for the PRONTO app to ensure the accounts are linked.
If you want to use the mobile app, you will download the PRONTO app and setup an account using your email address and a credit/debit card. Apple Pay and Google Pay are not currently accepted. A physical PRONTO card can be added to the user account within the online portal.
NOTE: Physical PRONTO cards and virtual cards on the PRONTO phone app are not interchangeable. They act as separate cards.
The PRONTO mobile app is available for rider download in the App Store and Google Play. You can find the app by searching for "PRONTO San Diego" or by clicking here for the app links. Riders can download the mobile app and register using their email address, and by adding a payment option (credit or debit card - Apple Pay and Google Pay are not currently accepted). Riders will not need to add any money into their mobile app to take advantage of free rides.
With PRONTO, all account information is held in the cloud instead of on the card. This will allow almost instant uploading of money or month passes to your account.
With Compass Card, fare information was held on the card and did not allow for immediate account management online or via the mobile phone app. With PRONTO, you can use either your PRONTO card or PRONTO phone app - just like a Starbucks card! Just use your PRONTO card or the barcode on your phone to ride. NOTE: Physical PRONTO cards and virtual cards on the PRONTO phone app are not interchangeable. They act as separate cards.
When you ride, the one-way fare will be deducted from the card you use - physical or virtual on your phone. A rider will never be charged more than a Day Pass in a given calendar day, regardless of how many trips/taps they make. Likewise, a rider will never be charged more than a Month Pass regardless of the number of trips/taps in a calendar month. You'll be able to track their progress toward a Day or Month Pass on your smart phone or your online account.
With PRONTO, you always get the best fare! The primary difference is that riders will not need to buy passes in advance. You can earn-as-you-go by adding money to your PRONTO account. Every time you tap to board a vehicle, the appropriate one-way fare is deducted from your balance. A rider will never be charged more than a Day Pass in a given calendar day, regardless of how many trips/taps they make. Likewise, a rider will never be charged more than a Month Pass regardless of the number of trips/taps in a calendar month. You will be able to track their progress toward a Day or Month Pass on your PRONTO app or online account.
Riders will still have the option to buy a Month Pass in advance for all buses, Trolley and SPRINTER. COASTER will require up-front payment for a Day or Month Pass.
PRONTO is also an account-based system that allows for real-time account management. You can use your smart phones to load money to the account instantly. Value can also be added online, over the phone, at ticket vending machines, retail outlets, and at the MTS Transit Store and North County Customer Service Centers; and this value will be available instantly through every method. No more waiting!
Cash can be used to add value to your account using: ticket vending machines, retail outlets, the MTS Transit Store and North County Customer Service Centers.
Even though rides will be free during September*, riders should tap their PRONTO card or scan their PRONTO mobile app every time they board a bus or Trolley.
We want everyone to get used to the PRONTO system in September and that includes our Bus Operators, Code Compliance Inspectors and riders. Bus Operators will ask riders to tap or scan when they board, and Code Compliance Inspectors will make friendly fare checks to see if riders tapped or scanned their cards.
But don’t worry – no money will be deducted from your account if you loaded funds onto your PRONTO card or mobile app in September.
*Reminder: Free rides in September are only for riders who have and show their PRONTO Card or mobile app when boarding.
Get the PRONTO App
Get the PRONTO App by searching for "PRONTO San Diego" or by using the links below.
PRONTO Outreach Brochures by Language
|Spanish | Español|
|Arabic | اَلْعَرَبِيَّةُ|
|Burmese | မြန်မာစာ or မြန်မာစကား|
|Chinese | 汉语, 漢語, 华语, 華語,|
|Filipino | Wikang Filipino|
|Swahili | Kiswahili|
|Vietnamese | Tiếng Việt Nam|