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MTS, NCTD riders can now store money on Compass cards

SAN DIEGO — Public transportation riders in San Diego County can now store cash balances on their Compass cards for use on buses, trains and trolleys operated by the Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District, the MTS announced Wednesday.

Passengers can store up to $300 on the cards in the Compass Cash program so they won’t have to stop at a ticket machine for each ride, according to the agency.

“Compass Cash caters to passengers taking spontaneous trips or occasional riders who want greater flexibility in payment options,” said Paul Jablonski, chief executive of the MTS.

The announcement of Compass Cash came not long after the MTS introduced Compass Cloud, a mobile ticketing app.

Passengers can use an existing Compass card or purchase a new one, and load cash value at ticket vending machines, the MTS Transit Store or NCTD customer service centers. The cards can also be loaded online at 511sd.com, or by calling the Compass Service Center at 619-595-5636.

The program won’t work for MTS or NCTD paratransit services.

To use the card for one-way trips, passengers can simply tap transit station validators or bus fare boxes, according to the MTS. NCTD Coaster train fares are based on zones, so passengers will need to tap before boarding and after exiting.

For rail day passes, passengers will still need to use a ticket vending machine and before tapping, follow prompts to load a day pass with Compass Cash. After the pass is loaded, the card can be tapped on a validator to activate the pass.

For bus day passes, passengers will need to tell the driver that they want to use Compass Cash to buy a day pass before tapping the validator. Once the bus operator activates the day pass, passengers can tap the compass card on the validator.

Passengers should register their Compass cards at 511sd.com to protect their balances, in case they are lost or stolen.