The Coaster, San Diego
The Coaster is basically a comuter train that connects Oceanside to downtown San Diego. It offers a few morning trips from San Diego to Carlsbad and Oceanside with stops in between. It is economical and a great solution for those who would like to see these destinations and who must rely on public transportation. The price at this time is up to $5.50 one way and a day pass is $11.00 which would be best for people making various trips in one day.
Check out the website, below, for schedule/fare information.
I'll mention here that if you want to take a trip up the coast from San Diego, to maybe Los Angeles, the Surfliner might be the way to go. There are about twelve departures a day, so pretty convenient too.
At times, the drive from our home to San Diego can be a real pain...so an alternative is the Coaster. It takes just about an hour to get to downtown San Diego and it's a pleasure...we even took it to the Santa Fe Station and walked two blocks to meet our cruise ship. The only drawback is that they don't offer frequent service on the weekends.
Coaster trains take you to many coastal cities in San Diego County. It stops at Downtown San Diego, Old Town, Sorrento Valley, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad Poinsettia, Carlsbad Village, and Oceanside.
There are many trains on either the northbound or the southbound route. Fares vary by zone. The maximum regular one-trip fare is only $4.75, however. If you have a bus transfer or a day pass, you pay less.
When you get your ticket from the dispenser, don't forget to validate it. I didn't validate mine because I didn't know this system. When I read the ticket more carefully after boarding the train, I realized my mistake. As a result, I was anxious the entire trip.
By far the cheapest way of getting to SD from outside of the city.
The stops are: Oceanside - Carlsbad Village - Carlsbad Poinsettia - Encinitas - Solana Beach - Sorrento Valley - Old Town - San Diego.
Cost: From $3.50 to $4.75 (this is from Oceanside to SD, which takes one hour).
Tickets include a free trnsfer, but I always manage to use my ticket all day on the buses in SD.
Time: From oceanside, the furthest stop north, it takes one hour. Amtrak takes 50 minutes and costs $12 each way, with no transfers, so the Coaster is definitely VALUE FOR YOUR MONEY.
The trains have always run on time and are clean. Many commuters take these trains so expect it to be busy around peak travelling times.
As an alternative to driving, you cab enjoy a ride on the Coaster (a clean and modern train that links Coastal North County to San Diego). Brief stops are made at seven stations heading south from Oceanside (Carlsbad Village, Carlsbad Poinsettia, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Sorrento Valley, Old Town and Sante Fe Depot in downtown San Diego).
The Coaster operates Monday - Saturday (no Sunday service) and offers passengers many recreational opportunities (e.g., eliminate stress, meet new people, sit back and relax while you ride the rails, comfortable seats and beautiful views).
The Coaster is the blue and green double-decker commuter train that runs North to South Monday through Saturday.
Stops include Oceanside, Carlsbad Village, Carlsbad Poinsettia, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Sorrento Valley, Old Town and Downtown San Diego.
Weekday hours are 5:23 AM to 6:45 PM, with two "late night" (HA!) trains on Friday at 9:45 PM and 12:05 AM and limited service on Saturdays. They do offer extended service for special events such as Street Scene.
Fares are dependent on the type of ticket and number of zones you're travelling through. Make sure you validate your ticket in the bright orange validators before boarding the train. If you don't and you get caught, you will receive a citation for over $200. Not to mention the shame of all the other people on the train looking at you... (No, this is not from experience, just from observation!)
The Coaster is clean and safe. The conductors are very friendly unless you don't have a validated ticket...
The best thing about the Coaster? Food and drinks are allowed, including alcohol. Friday afternoons you will often see commuters having happy hour on the train. We call it the Beer Train. All Aboard!
Southern California is not exactly known for it's public transportation system, but San Diego does a decent job of it. Your options include the bus system, the trolley and the Coaster ( a commuter train). The website below has the schedules and maps for all of the above.