Many people get around by car, but you can reach most places on public transportation. Metropolitan buses and the trolley lines are run by Metropolitan Transit Service (MTS), and several other bus companies serve surrounding areas. All sorts of local public-transportation tickets, maps and information are available from the Transit Store (619-234-1060; 102 Broadway at 1st Ave; 9am-5pm Mon-Fri). It sells the Day Tripper Transit Pass ($5/15 for one day/four consecutive days), which is good for unlimited travel on local buses, the trolley and bay ferry.
A regular ferry ($2.25) runs hourly between Broadway Pier and Coronado. A water taxi (619-235-8294; per person from $5) makes a regular connection between Seaport Village and Coronado, where it stops at the Ferry Landing Marketplace and Glorietta Bay. The service runs 2pm to 10pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 11pm Saturday and Sunday. It also makes on-call trips to Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Chula Vista and South Bay.
All the big-name rental companies have convenient desks at the airport, but lesser-known ones can be cheaper. It’s definitely worth shopping around and haggling - prices vary widely, even from day to day within the same company. The western terminal at the airport has free direct phones to a number of car-rental companies - you can call several and then get a courtesy bus to the company of your choice. Also, car rentals are as cheap or cheaper in LA, so it might be preferable to get one there.
Some of the smaller, independent companies - such as California Rent a Car (619-238-9999; 904 W Grape St) and West Coast Rent a Car (619-544-0606; 834 W Grape St), both in Little Italy - may have lower rates and offer more relaxed conditions.
MTS covers most of the metropolitan area, North County, La Jolla and the beaches and is most convenient if you’re going to/from downtown and not staying out late at night. Get the free Regional Transit Map from the Transit Store.
For route and fare information, call MTS (619-233-3004, 800-266-6883, 24hr recorded info 619-685-4900; 5:30am-8:30pm Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm Sat & Sun). For route planning via the Internet, go to www.sdcommute.com.
Tickets cost $1.75 for most trips, including a transfer that is good for up to two hours; on express routes it’s $2.50. Exact fare is required.
Useful routes to/from downtown:
Route No - Destination
3 - Balboa Park, UCSD
4 - National City
5 - Old Town, Little Italy
7 - Seaport Village, Balboa Park
25 - Mission Valley, Fashion Valley, Hillcrest
30 - Pacific Beach, University Towne Centre
34 - Sports Arena, Mission Beach, Belmont Park, Pacific Beach, Stephen Birch Aquarium, UCSD, University Towne Centre
35 - Ocean Beach
901 - Coronado
A commuter train service, the Coaster, leaves the Santa Fe train depot and runs up the coast to North County, with stops in Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside. In the metropolitan area, it stops at the Sorrento Valley station (where there’s a connecting shuttle to UCSD) and Old Town. Tickets are available from vending machines at stations and must be validated prior to boarding. Fares range from $3.75 to $5.25; machines give change.
There are 11 daily trains in each direction Monday to Friday; the first trains leave Oceanside at 5:23am and the Santa Fe depot at 6:33am; the last ones depart at 5:28pm and 6:45pm, respectively. On Saturday, there are four trains only.
For information, contact Regional Transit (619-233-3004, from North County 800-266-6883; www.sdcommute.com).
Fares are around $2.20 to start, and then are about $2.30 per mile. Some established companies:
American Cab (619-292-1111)
Orange Cab (619-291-4444)
San Diego Cab (619-226-7294)
Yellow Cab (619-239-8061)
Some areas around San Diego are great for biking, particularly Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Mission Bay and Coronado.
All public buses are equipped with bike racks and will transport two-wheelers free. Inform the driver before boarding, then stow your bike on the rack on the tail end of the bus. For more information telephone 619-685-4900.
The following outfits all rent various types of bicycles, from mountain and road bikes to kids’ bikes and cruisers. In general, expect to pay about $5 per hour, $10 to $14 per half-day (four hours) and $14 to $25 per day.
Bike Cab Co (888-245-3222; 523 Island Ave)
Cheap Rentals (800-941-7761; 3221 Mission Blvd, Mission Beach)
Hamel’s Beach Rentals (858-488-5050; 704 Ventura Place, Mission Beach)
Holland’s Bike (619-435-3153; 977 Orange Ave, Coronado)