San Diego Transit Information


Overview on San Diego Transit

Public Transit in San Diego is decent but not great for travelers. Buses, Trolleys, and Trains are generally clean and safe and as a group serve most of the major attractions. The local transit service offers a very helpful Transit Trip Planner, which is described below.

However, travelers that prefer to avoid buses will have a harder time relying on mass transit. Many attractions, especially those outside of Downtown San Diego, are not accessible by the Trolley. Some are accessible by trains but they run on a limited schedule. Continue reading below to find which major attractions are served by the Trolley and Trains in San Diego. You can then decide if you want to rely on transit to make the most of your experience in San Diego.


Key Tip – San Diego is at the forefront of providing consumer friendly transit technology. San Diego provides real-time information on the arrival time for upcoming buses at your transit stop using Google Maps on your smart phone or by texting your bus stop number to SDMTS.

San Diego Transit Trip Planner

The Trip Planner makes it easy for visitors to plan their travel using a combination of the Trolley System, Local Buses and Regional Commuter Trains.

A few of the nice features of the Transit Planner:

  • Instead of entering an address, you can select from a list of landmarks and attractions as your beginning and ending points.
  • You can choose how far you are willing to walk to and from a transit stop.
  • You can choose your preference for Fastest Way, Minimal Transfers, or Minimal Walking.

The Transit Planner will calculate for you:

  • Total Trip Time.
  • Cost of a One Way Fare.
  • A Link to a Map and Time Table for your route.
  • The Amount of Walking Distance required, if any.

Google Transit for San Diego – If you have any trouble using the San Diego transit web site, you can also use Google Maps, which has incorporated the San Diego transit schedules.

Downtown San Diego Transit Map – Includes the Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, and Airport.

Expanded San Diego Transit Map – Includes Mission Bay, Old Town, Coronado, and Cabrillo National Monument.

More Transit Maps – Regional transit maps show route numbers throughout western San Diego County from the Mexican Border to Oceanside.

san-diego-trolleyTrolley Map & Schedule – The Trolley line starts at the border with Mexico and heads north through downtown San Diego, on to Old Town and then stretches east towards the East County area of San Diego. It is a great option for getting around downtown San Diego attractions and visiting Old Town, Petco Park, Qualcomm Stadium, Fashion Valley Mall, and San Diego State University. It does NOT take visitors to the San Diego Airport, Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, or the beaches. The trolley runs late into the evening and includes extra runs for special events, including San Diego Padres and San Diego Chargers games. You must purchase your tickets at the platform vending machines prior to boarding.

Coaster Stations – The Coaster train route runs from Downtown San Diego to Oceanside, CA, stopping in several coastal towns along the way. Be aware that the Coaster schedules are limited with only about a dozen trips each day, and fewer on weekends. It is an option for visiting beach communities from Solana Beach to Oceanside.  Find directions to the Coaster Stations and view a list of attractions near Coaster Stations. There are also shuttles that take Coaster riders from a train station to nearby businesses and the San Diego Airport. The Coaster is also a good option for visitors staying in the northern San Diego coastal communities to visit many of the attractions in San Diego. You can transfer to the San Diego Trolley System at the Old Town Station or at the Santa Fe Depot in Downtown San Diego. Extra trains are used for San Diego Padres and San Diego Chargers games. You must purchase your tickets at the platform vending machines prior to boarding.

Sprinter Stations – This Sprinter train route runs from the end of the Coaster line in Oceanside, CA eastward to Escondido. It includes stops in Vista, San Marcos, and the Cal State San Marcos campus. Trains generally run every half hour on weekdays and every hour on weekends. It is a good option for reaching the Wave Water Park (summer only) and Steam Engine Museum. For more information, view the list of attractions near Sprinter Stations. You must purchase your tickets at the platform vending machines prior to boarding.

coronado-ferry-boatBikes – Bikes can be taken onto the Trolley, Coaster, and Sprinter or placed on bike racks on the front of buses. Coaster and Sprinter riders must enter the doors that have a bike emblem and use the lower level of that train car.

Coronado Ferry – The Coronado Ferry is a great way to visit Coronado while enjoying the San Diego Bay and downtown skyline views. The Ferry runs hourly each way throughout the day. It takes only 15 minutes to cross the bay from Broadway Pier to the Coronado Ferry Landing Marketplace. The Hotel del Coronado is 1.5 miles from the Coronado Ferry Landing and can be reached by foot, bus, pedicab, or taxi.

AMTRAK in San Diego – AMTRAK runs trains throughout the day along the Southern California coast from Los Angeles to San Diego, making stops in a few coastal communities in northern San Diego County, Old Town, and Downtown San Diego. Read more about AMTRAK in San Diego.

Sightseeing Tours – Another way to get around San Diego is to take a sightseeing tour. Among the more popular tours are the Old Town Trolley Tours, Gray Line Tours, and San Diego to La Jolla Sightseeing Tours.

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: Traffic / Transit / Taxi, Trains & Railroads, Visitor Basics / Foreign Help |

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