SAN DIEGO — A new pilot program will soon be offering free public transit fares for people aged 18 through 24 who have experienced the foster care system, traffic officials announced Friday.

Starting July 1, 2022 – December 31, 2023, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District are partnering to provide the PRONTO Extend pilot program, which aims to support and improve access to opportunity for former foster youth and young adults currently in foster care as they transition into more independent living, the MTS stated in a press release.

A study by CALYouth shows approximately 25% of youth exiting foster care in California experience homelessness.

“Young adults who have aged out of the foster care system face unique challenges as they enter adulthood,” said Nathan Fletcher, MTS Board Chair, and Chair, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “Many of the transitional age youth don’t have social safety nets or financial support from their families. Our goal with the PRONTO Extend program is to offer additional resources to ease that transition from foster care to more independent living. Being able to have free transportation to school or jobs is an important stepping stone to help them succeed.”         

Those who are eligible for the program get free access to MTS and NCTD fixed-route bus service, the Trolley, SPRINTER and COASTER, according to traffic officials. Passes will become available for use starting the month of July.

Eligible participants also must have one of the following current valid forms from the County of San Diego or other County jurisdiction:

  • Notice of Action form
  • Proof of Dependency/Wardship Letter

How to apply:

  • Online: sdmts.com/PRONTO-Extend
  • Via Mail or in-person delivery: 100 16th Street, San Diego CA 92101 Attn: PRONTO Extend Eligibility
  • Via Fax: 844-299-6369

For more information and full program guidelines, visit sdmts.com/PRONTO-Extend.