New this summer - more benefits for downtown commuters
The arrival of summer means more daylight and warmer temps, a perfect setting for those ready to try a new way to commute to work.
First launched in 2019 by the City of Santa Cruz, GO Santa Cruz provides downtown Santa Cruz employees incentives to choose alternative transportation methods.
Starting in July, all downtown workers enrolled in GO Santa Cruz will have access to even more benefits through a membership program managed by Ecology Action. The newly added benefits to the membership program include:
- Free emergency rides home for individuals using sustainable commutes
- Zero-interest bike loans up to $1,500
- Free 1:1 bike commute consultations
- Free two-week-long e-bike test rides
“It’s all about removing barriers and concerns when it comes to traveling to work. We hope to increase program participation and make a bigger impact when it comes to decreasing our carbon footprint,” said City of Santa Cruz Transportation Planner Claire Gallogly.
Emergency rides give peace of mind.
For GO Santa Cruz users who are regular carpoolers, van poolers, bus riders, bicyclists, and walkers, an emergency ride home adds peace of mind. Participants are eligible for two free rides home per year in an emergency, such as illness, crisis, change in regular work shift, carpool driver leaving early, a broken or stolen bicycle. There is no mileage cap or price cap, and Uber/Lyft, bus, rental car, or other options can be used.
Bike loans offer flexibility.
Buying a new bike can be expensive. Downtown employees can now get a 0% interest bike loan up to $750 for regular pedal bikes (non-powered) and up to $1,500 for an e-bike. Qualifications include:
- Working at least 20 hours per week
- Being at least 18 years old
- Having good credit.
The bike loan program was just what I needed. UC Santa Cruz had just hired me, and parking was expensive. Plus, I wanted to reduce my emissions.
— Nicolette Hernandez-Kaempf, an e-bike loan recipient
“Through the program, I was able to get recommendations for shops and models to try,” said Nicolette Hernandez-Kaempf, an e-bike loan recipient, “The result was finding the perfect bike that fit within my budget. Thanks to the monthly payments, I can plan my spending, which is great, but the best part is that I get to ride my bike every morning and evening through the UCSC meadows.”
Hernandez-Kaempf continues,"Without the financial flexibility of the loan and the knowledge and expertise of Ecology Action and the bike shop owners, I may have been paying for parking every day, creating a greater cost for both me and the earth.”
In addition to the Ecology Action membership, the City’s GO Santa Cruz program offers free transit passes and bike locker cards, bike safety training, carpool incentives, carpool ride-matching, and commute information. Not to mention the chance to earn Downtown Dollars that can be spent just like cash at various downtown businesses.