Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (Santa Cruz Metro) launched One Ride at a Time, an advocacy campaign to showcase the environmental benefits of transit, encourage bus ridership and protect Santa Cruz County’s natural resources.
Beginning in January, every ride on a Santa Cruz Metro bus donates to the partners in protecting the environment, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the Bay of Life Fund.
“Santa Cruz Metro’s mission is to provide environmentally sustainable transportation to Santa Cruz County,” said Larry Pageler, Santa Cruz Metro board chair. “With One Ride at a Time, we aim to increase ridership and solidify Santa Cruz Metro as the region’s environmentally smart transportation choice while supporting organizations making a difference in our community.”
One Ride at a Time is made possible by a partnership between Santa Cruz Metro, Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC), the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, the Bay of Life Fund and photographer-writer team Frans Lanting and Chris Eckstrom.
To promote the campaign, Santa Cruz Metro will release pairs of buses wrapped with 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.
The first pair of bus wraps were unveiled Jan. 21, coinciding with the opening weekend of Lanting and Eckstrom’s Bay of Life Exhibition at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.
“We are delighted to collaborate with Santa Cruz Metro and to put our images from Bay of Life to work protecting our Monterey Bay environment one ride at a time,” Lanting and Eckstrom said.
To participate, bus riders must create an account on the online ridesharing portal administered by the SCCRTC’s GO Santa Cruz County program or through the Commute Tracker app. 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 Santa Cruz Metro’s nonprofit partners to receive a $10 donation.
To heighten the campaign and emphasize the importance of protecting the Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz Metro will inform the community about the conservation and education efforts of the Monterey Bay National Marine 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 its website will teach riders about the programs their donations support.
“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 Santa Cruz Metro on One Ride at a Time because the campaign gives people an opportunity to protect our Monterey Bay with their everyday transportation choices.”
“This project has been a labor of love for Santa Cruz Metro and our partners, and we are excited to unveil it to our community,” said Santa Cruz Metro Marketing and Communications Director Danielle Glagola. “Our goal is to increase environmental awareness and remind the public that using public transit over personal vehicles, even one ride at a time, reduces omissions. Now, through this program and with our partners’ help, riders can also donate to our local environmental nonprofits, doubling their impact, with one simple action of riding Santa Cruz Metro.”
Santa Cruz Metro is converting its entire bus fleet to zero-emissions buses (ZEBs). By the end of 2023, Santa Cruz Metro will have 9 ZEBs deployed in the county, with more coming every year.