Quick Take:


Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District’s (METRO) One Ride at a Time campaign has hit the streets of Santa Cruz County. The fundraising campaign gives everyone in the county an opportunity to protect the region’s extraordinary natural resources by simply riding the bus.

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The Monterey Bay is the hottest hotspot for biodiversity in North America, according to The Nature Conservancy. Its dynamic confluence of land and sea creates unique ecosystems and supports iconic wildlife from secretive mountain lions to majestic blue whales. Working to preserve this beloved natural resource, METRO will donate to local nonprofits dedicated to protecting the environment, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and the Bay of Life Fund.

“METRO invites the community to hop on board a bus and join us in protecting our Monterey Bay, one ride at a time.” — METRO CEO/General Manager Michael Tree

To participate, bus riders must create an account on Cruz511, GO Santa Cruz County’s online ridesharing portal, or through the Commute Tracker app (available at the App Store and Google Play).

Once enrolled, riders will use the portal to log their bus trips, earning 10 points for each trip with a maximum of two rides per day that count towards point accruals. When a rider reaches 250 points, or 25 rides, they can use the portal to select one of METRO’s non-profit partners to receive a $10 donation. Riders can also see the greenhouse gas emissions reductions they’ve made by riding public transit and compete against each other to see who can make the biggest impact.

Beginning in January 2023, every ride on a METRO bus donates to local nonprofits dedicated to protecting the environment. Credit: Santa Cruz METRO

“Everyone who lives, works, and plays in this region is a steward to one of the planet’s treasures of biodiversity,” said Ginaia Kelly, chapter director of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. “We are honored to team up with METRO on One Ride at a Time because this campaign gives people an opportunity to protect our Monterey Bay with their everyday transportation choices.”

METRO will gradually release pairs of buses wrapped with photographer Frans Lanting’s iconic images of the Monterey Bay from the Bay of Life Project. By the end of 2024, about 30 wrapped buses will be traveling throughout Santa Cruz County and featuring inspiring images of whales, sea otters, mountain lions, redwoods and more.

“We are delighted to collaborate with METRO and to put our images from Bay of Life to work protecting our precious Monterey Bay environment one ride at a time,” said Lanting and Bay of Life writer and co-creator Chris Eckstrom.


METRO’s mission is to provide easy-to-use, convenient transportation for Santa Cruz County residents while protecting the environment and building better communities. Every ride on a METRO bus takes cars off the road and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

METRO is also converting its entire bus fleet to zero-emissions buses (ZEBs). By the end of 2023, METRO will have 9 ZEBs deployed in the county with more coming every year. Starting in 2022, METRO has pledged that all new bus purchases will be ZEBs.

One Ride at a Time is made possible by a partnership between METRO, Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC), Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Bay of Life Fund, and renowned photographer-writer team Frans Lanting and Chris Eckstrom.