Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (METRO) has launched a new campaign to promote the environmental benefits of using public transit and to protect Santa Cruz County’s extraordinary natural resources. The campaign, titled “One Ride at a Time,” encourages people to use METRO’s buses by donating $10 to local environmental organizations, via the GO Santa Cruz program, after every 25 rides.
Starting in January 2023, every ride on a METRO bus donates to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation or the Bay of Life Fund to support those that are working to preserve and protect the environment. The 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 has made the campaign possible.
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.
Why METRO is leading this campaign
Established in 1968, METRO’S mission is to provide environmentally sustainable transportation to Santa Cruz County. METRO directly operates county-wide, fixed-route and Highway 17 commuter service, with connections to Santa Clara County and Monterey Salinas Transit at our Watsonville Transit Center. The agency also operates ParaCruz paratransit service. Today METRO operates a fleet of 94 buses on at least 24 fixed-routes and 32 paratransit vehicles.
Every ride on a METRO bus takes cars off the road, significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and supports economic opportunity and quality of life in our community. Moving into the future, METRO strives to meet the following goals:
- Increase transit ridership to 7 million trips annually within the next five years
- Transition to a zero-emissions fleet with a mix of hydrogen and electric vehicles
- Increase affordable housing at METRO-owned transit centers to 175 units in the next 10 years.
One Ride at a Time is an opportunity to not only educate the public about the benefits of public transit and the unique natural resources of the Monterey Bay but also inspire people to take action.
The goal is to increase ridership and establish METRO as the environmentally smart transportation choice for Santa Cruz County while supporting organizations making a difference in our community.
How can I get involved?
There are two ways to start counting your rides.
- Create an account at scmtd.com/gosantacruz, the online ridesharing portal administered by GO Santa Cruz County.
- Once you have an account, use the portal to log your bus trips. You’ll earn 10 points for each trip with a maximum of two rides per day that count towards your point accruals.
- When you reach 250 points, or 25 rides, use the portal to select one of our nonprofit partners to receive a $10 donation.
- You can also see the greenhouse gas emissions reductions you’ve made by riding public transit and compete against other riders to see who can make the biggest impact.
- Download the Commute Tracker app from the App Store or the Google Play store.
- Setup your account and select CRUZ511.org.
- Follow the prompts to allow Commute Tracker to automatically log your trips by turning on location tracking.
- When you reach 250 points, or 25 rides, you can select a nonprofit partner to receive a $10 donation.
For more help setting up Commute Tracker, visit scmtd.com/ctsetup.
To promote this campaign, METRO will release pairs of buses wrapped with Frans Lanting’s iconic images of the Monterey Bay from the Bay of Life Project. The result will be roughly 30 fully wrapped buses traveling throughout Santa Cruz County and featuring inspiring images of whales, sea otters, mountain lions, redwoods and more.
To heighten the campaign and emphasize the importance of protecting our Monterey Bay, METRO will inform the community about the conservation and education efforts that the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation and the Bay of Life Fund are making to promote protection of the species and landscapes pictured on the buses. Transit center displays, interior bus signage and interactive content on our website will teach readers about the programs their donations support.
The first pair of bus wraps was unveiled in January 2023 coinciding with the opening of Lanting and Eckstrom’s Bay of Life exhibition at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.
Throughout 2023, METRO will support the campaign with advertising, social media and community outreach events at places like the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center and others, featuring the wrapped buses and Lanting’s powerful photos.