With one of the oldest metropolitan transit systems on the West Coast, San Diego offers many options for getting around: buses, an express rail called the Coaster and a vintage trolley as well as taxis, car services and water taxis. The Coronado Ferry carries commuters and sightseers across the bay with stops at Broadway Pier, the Convention Center and Coronado Ferry Landing. Like many California cities, its freeways can be bumper-to-bumper during rush hours (7 am to 9 am and 4:30 pm to 6 pm). The international airport, about three miles (4.8 km) from downtown, is served by major airlines. The climate encourages walking, especially downtown, along the waterfront and in Pacific Beach, La Jolla and Hillcrest.
Connections to the Los Angeles Airport (LAX) may be made by bus and train. Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner train travels up the Southern California Coast from San Diego through Los Angeles and on up to San Luis Obispo and can accommodate surfboards and bicycles.
The new Rental Car Center at the San Diego International Airport has representatives of national, local and independent companies. Free dedicated shuttle buses ferry customers between center and terminals. Pickup services at many hotels may also be arranged. Driving in San Diego is not for the faint of heart, particularly on the freeways. Brush up on your defensive driving skills and make sure you have a map, electronic or paper.
San Diego's varied terrain is great for mountain bike, road bike or cruisers. The near-perfect weather makes it a cycling-friendly town with lots of professional riders training there off-season. DecoBike Share has over 800 bikes ready to rent around the city at $7 an hour, and a number of bike shops rent a various kinds of bikes for around $25 a day. Bike lanes run from Hillcrest to Downtown on 4th and 5th Avenues.
The San Diego Trolley travels above ground on three color-coded routes. The Blue Line runs between Qualcomm Stadium to San Isidro Transit Center, the Orange from downtown to El Cajon and the Green from Old Town to Santee via San Diego State University. Fares are based on distance traveled and range from $1.25 to $3 one way. Fares on the Coaster commuter train with eight stops between Oceanside to downtown are also based on distance traveled or $4 to $5.50 one way. Extra trains are added on weekends.
The Metropolitan Transit System operates a network of buses and trolleys that includes the MTS Flyer Route 992, which connects the airport to the trolley, Amtrak and Coaster rail services at the Santa Fe Depot downtown. Daily to monthly bases, good for both buses and passes are a tap-and-ride Compass smart card. Cards may be purchased at transit centers, at Albertsons and Vons grocery stores or online. The MTS website also has a trip planner for finding your route.
Metered taxis can be found at stands at the airport, downtown hotels, many shopping malls and attractions. Otherwise, they can be booked by telephone. Rates include a flag drop charge and a per-mile or per-hour charge. Airport shuttles, limos and town cars are other options. Ride-share services also operate in the city. At the airport, clients meet their drivers at specific locations. From Terminal 1, go up the escalators from baggage claim and walk across the Sky Bridge toward Ground Transportation and escalators down to the parking lot for pickup. From Terminal 2, head toward the Elevated Departure Roadway after picking up luggage. Pick up is under a red umbrella between American and Delta/United check-in.