So in my earlier post, I have shown you how to avoid being homeless in San Diego during one of the biggest comic-cons in the country. Now that you have a place to stay, the next crucial element will be getting around. Traffic during San Diego Comic-Con is a beast. You have 130,000 nerds, geeks, and cosplayers converging on one place at the same time. It’s chaotic. Not intimidating chaotic but chaotic none the less. There are so many amazing events located around the con so reliable transportation is a must.
Renting A Car is A Blessing and A Curse
Now this would be the obvious option for you. You will have dedicated transportation throughout your trip and the ability to see all the sights of San Diego. Again, we are back to that untamable beast that is traffic. You will be spending a lot of time sitting in traffic during this visit. In addition to horrible traffic, parking is extremely limited. Now, you can take your chances with Ace Parking Lottery sponsored through SDCC. As if the lottery to get badges or a lower (but still) high-cost hotel wasn’t enough, you can now take part in a chance to buy a parking spot in a, hopefully, close location. If luck is not a lady and backhands you out of the lottery, you have to take your chances with overpriced parking garages and lots. See where I am going here?
Public Transport: Your New Best Friend
While planning my trip to SDCC in 2015, I found out all this info about the car rental situation and was immediately discouraged. I knew my primary focus would be the con activities so I didn’t need to rent a car. I did, however, learn more about San Diego’s excellent public transportation system. I am not from a large metropolitan city so I have never known the usefulness of public transport. However, the San Diego MTS is pretty sweet. Their system includes buses, trolleys, and high-speed trains. Both the trolley and buses run to Downtown San Diego with the trolley having a specific “Convention Center” stop. You can even estimate your travel and costs using the MTS app, mTicket (Available in Google Play and the Apple App Store) or Google Maps. All lines of service are seamlessly integrated into the app and you can conveniently find the nearest and latest stops.
Paying for your ride is quite simple. You can either: provide exact change for your ride (for buses only), buy a single ride pass, or buy a single day or multi-day pass on a Compass Card. MTS offers special reduced rates for Comic Con as well. Passes can be purchased at designated stations, ticketing booths, and trolley ticketing vending machines. Since I knew I would need to take both the bus and trolley, I opted to purchase a Compass Card (for $2) and add a 4-day pass. This guaranteed unlimited rides on all buses and trolleys during my stay.
For everything else, Take Uber or Lyft
The only limitation with using the MTS is the run times. If you plan on partying late into the evenings, you will have to find another for your transportation. My personal go-to is always Uber. I keep the app on my phone at all times and set up with my payment options. I used it after standing in the Hall H line until 2:30 am (and yes, I did get my wristband) and safely returned to my vacation rental. Lyft is also a great option that is steadily expanding its markets across the country. The best feature of both services is the ability to contact your driver and track their arrival. No need for exact change or credit cards. Proactively set up your account and save your payment info if your plan on a heavy night of drinking. Believe me, it helps! You can also save your hotel info as a favorite, saving you the trouble of trying to remember it later. Be aware that during holidays and large scale events, their rates can double.
Here are a few links to some of the services described above including your first free ride with Lyft or Uber on me:
San Diego Metropolitan Transit System Website: http://www.sdmts.com/