Students of all ages have specific transportation needs. Cruz511 helps students make sustainable transportation choices.
College students are often challenged in their transportation choices because schedules are variable, changing from semester to semester as well as from day to day. Thus, students’ best transportation options are often bus, bicycle, and carpool, as these options allow for some schedule flexibility.
Many students create carpools informally by meeting people in classes, carpooling with housemates or forming or posting on rideboards at school. A free ridematching service makes the money savings and flexibility of carpooling especially attractive to students.
The most important ingredient in student transportation is in the choice of where to live. Because they move often, students need to evaluate the location of every house and apartment they consider renting by answering these questions: Is it close to a bus line? Is there good bicycle access? Is it close enough to campus that I can use sustainable transportation reliably?
Since first and second year students are not permitted to keep cars on campus, they quickly become familiar with the Santa Cruz Metro bus system. All UCSC students get free access to Santa Cruz Metro buses with their student ID cards as student fees pay for transit access. When students move off-campus, transit remains an important part of the transportation mix, because on-campus parking passes are quite expensive. The UCSC campus is served by route 10, 15, 16, 19, and 20 buses, as well as the campus transportation system. For more information about transportation to and within UCSC, please visit TAPS – UCSC’s Transportation and Parking Services. TAPS runs many effective commute services for UCSC students, such as the Bike Shuttle, Zipcar carsharing, and Zimride carpool matching.
In spring 2016 Cabrillo students held an election and voted to impose a mandatory transportation fee of $40 per student per semester. The fee provides each student with a bus pass valid seven days a week, providing Santa Cruz Metro bus service throughout Santa Cruz County with transfers to Monterey-Salinas Transit. Students will simply show their Cabrillo ID card with a current semester sticker to ride the bus. Stickers are available one week before the first day of the semester in the Welcome Center (SAC East).
Located over the hill in Santa Clara County, many SJSU faculty, staff and students find Santa Cruz Metro’s Highway 17 Express bus an excellent commute choice made even sweeter by the complementary on-board Wi-Fi that’s included in the price of a pass. The Associated Students Transportation Solutions program is the go-to place for all things transportation at SJSU.
High School Students
High School students are more independent than younger students, but face their own unique mobility challenges.
High school students cannot drive until they are 15, and are restricted in who they can drive with. This can create problems when trying to set up carpools, as only the oldest students can take passengers. Please see the California Driver Handbook for more information on driving requirements for young adults.
High school students commonly choose the freedom offered by bicycle transportation, and there are a number of programs in the county that support these students, such as Ecology Action’s Bike Smart program and programs offered by the Community Traffic Safety Coalition.
Students (through age 17) who rely on the bus to get around can buy a discounted monthly youth bus pass for $48 ($17 off the adult price). This pass is good for unlimited bus rides within Santa Cruz County on Santa Cruz Metro.
Elementary and Middle School
Students in Elementary and Middle School are often dependent on others for transportation to and from school. However, creativity and flexibility give parents and students ways to work together to form sustainable and mutually beneficial transportation arrangements.
Using sustainable transportation benefits everyone:
- Parents recover time lost by chauffeuring
- Traffic congestion around schools is eased
- Students get healthier by increased exercise from biking and walking
School-pools come in many colors and flavors
- Parents make an agreement to share driving each other’s children to school, either on a permanent or rotating basis. Carpooling to school reduces trips while providing a network of trust for parents. These arrangements are frequently established during back to school events held at the beginning of the school year, but can begin any time throughout the year.
- Clusters of students who live within walking distance from school walk in a coordinated fashion to school together. One or two adults serve as “drivers”, making sure that all the children get to and from school safely.
- Students who live in the same neighborhood ride bikes together to school accompanied by adults. Safe cycling practices and skills can be learned in the process of riding to school increasing both students and parents sense of confidence, independence and safety.
- School buses are a thing of the past for many school districts. Luckily, the public bus service offered by Santa Cruz Metro is an excellent option for many families to transport their students to school. Students (through age 17) who rely on the bus to get around can buy a discounted monthly youth bus pass for $48 ($17 off the adult price). This pass is good for unlimited bus rides within Santa Cruz County on Santa Cruz Metro. This is an especially good option for “tweens” and teenagers.
School administrators and staff can work with Cruz511 to design programs to ease the traffic and parking burden that schools are presented with at the beginning and end of each school day. Please contact us for more information.