Will you be flying into San Diego for Comic-Con? Depending on when your flight arrives, you may be looking at a hefty surge price for the commonly used ride share programs. Taxi cabs are the old standby, which we will also cover below, but San Diego’s transit system has several other options to get you to your hotel for just a few dollars, or less!
Flying Southwest? Terminal 1 Construction!
Terminal 1 is still under construction, used mainly by Southwest Airlines. If you fly into Terminal 1, be sure to follow new signs for public transit to get to bus, taxi, and shuttle pickup locations. More details on the San Diego airport construction at SAN.org.
Free Shuttle to the Old Town Trolley Station
The San Diego Flyer is a free, electric shuttle bus service between the airport and Old Town Transit Center. The San Diego Flyer shuttles operate seven days a week, and run every 20 minutes, starting at 4:45AM and ending at 12:30AM the next day. Download the full schedule on the Flyer page. The shuttle makes stops at Terminal 1, then Terminal 2, then heads the 4.5 miles to Old Town Transit Center, taking about 15 minutes. At the Transit Center, you can get on the Green Line trolley heading towards “12th & Imperial” and get off at one of the convention center stations that is convenient for your hotel. The ride takes about 20 minutes and is $2.50 one-way. See the Trolley section, below, for additional details on free rides for kids.
MTS Bus & Trolley
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) offers bus route 992 that runs between the airport and downtown. The drop-off point is on Broadway & 3rd, near the Balboa Theatre. The bus runs every 15 minutes, from 5AM to Midnight, and the ride to downtown from the airport takes about 20 minutes. This is your faster option, even with the walk to the convention center. (But not easy with lots of luggage!) A one-way fare is $2.50. You can see the full bus 992 schedule and route details on the MTS web site.
Reader David C. points out that the free airport shuttle to the Rental Car Center will drop you off very close to the Middletown trolley station — about a half-mile walk — which is a shorter trolley ride to downtown than from Old Town. The Rental Car Center shuttle runs 24 hours/day from the airport and it’s also an option if you find yourself with surge pricing from rideshares. The drop-off point via the shuttle might offer lower pickup rates.
Tips for riding MTS transit: MTS uses PRONTO kiosks and app for tickets. Be sure to download the app in advance, or load up your Pronto card, if you will be making use of the San Diego bus or trolleys. Refresh yourself on the “How to Ride” guide on the MTS site.
MTS also has their Comic-Con event page with lots of details and event fares for 2, 3, 4 or 5-days. The 5-day is $20, and all are available to purchase in the PRONTO app. Plus MTS will also be hosting activations and giveaways with Comic-Con Radio at the 12th & Imperial, Old Town, and 24th Street trolley stations this year!
Kids ride free: If you are traveling with someone 18 and younger, they are free to ride the Transit System when they download the Pronto app for MTS ticketing. Get more details on the Youth Pass page. Kids 5 and younger are free to ride at all times.
Even if you are not using the trolley from the airport, you may still like to grab a a 4-day trolley pass for Comic-Con dates. Staying at the Embassy Suites but want to get to the Petco Park area? Trolley.
If your ride share app shows a price surge, but you don’t want to mess around with public transportation, the old taxi standby will be the way to go. The San Diego Airport web site has a list of the cab companies who pickup at the airport.
Rates will be displayed on the door of the cabs, and all companies take credit card. Yellow Cab, for example, has $2.80 base fee and $3.00 per mile. A fare of around $25 before tip is expected for a drop-off at the downtown hotels.
Certainly not a method to take to the airport, but the downtown Pedicabs are now more regulated by the city and must carry insurance and receive inspections. They work well to get short distances after a long day on your feet, and it’s a great way to take in the sights of Comic-Con. Maybe someday we will see the return of movie & TV branded pedicabs like years past!
How do you like to get around at San Diego Comic-Con? Leave a comment below!