Promoted content

Santa Cruz METRO begins free bus program for all K-12 students

Presented by Santa Cruz Metro
Santa Cruz METRO
(SMART Union)

Looking for a safe, convenient, and environmentally friendly transportation option for your K-12 students in Santa Cruz County? Look no further than the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District’s (METRO) new Youth Cruz Free pilot program.

Beginning March 1, 2023, the Youth Cruz Free program will eliminate fares for youth riders in grades K-12, encouraging increased ridership and access to transportation for the county’s youth. METRO aims to develop lifelong transit riders while meeting its overall goal of increasing transit ridership.

Santa Cruz Metro
(Santa Cruz Metro)

The program allows youth riders to travel on all METRO routes, except for the Highway 17 Express service, anytime and anywhere they need to go. According to a 2019 survey conducted by METRO, only 9.7% of its riders are under the age of 18, despite comprising 19% of the population of Santa Cruz County. The Youth Cruz Free program aims to change that by offering a safe and convenient transportation option to get students to school, work, or play.

Riders in grades 8 and below may be asked to identify their grade level or school they attend, while riders in grades 9-12 will need to show ID to the driver. Students without a Student ID can get a free METRO Youth Cruz Free ID by visiting one of METRO’s Customer Service windows and filling out a Youth Cruz Free On-Demand Form.

By riding on a METRO bus, students can reduce their carbon footprint by taking cars off the road and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the Youth Cruz Free program provides an alternative option for parents to get their children to and from school, which can alleviate some of the local traffic congestion.

To learn more about the Youth Cruz Free pilot program, visit or email for assistance.

Join METRO in supporting community well-being and start promoting lifelong transit ridership among the youth of Santa Cruz County today!

Like METRO on Facebook at

Follow METRO on Twitter at

Santa cruz metro logo
(Santa Cruz Metro)

Latest Stories


Be the first to know all the big, breaking news in Santa Cruz. Sign up to get Lookout alerts sent straight to your phone here or below.