Riding the Bus in Santa Cruz County
The Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transportation District (Santa Cruz Metro) provides public bus service to Santa Cruz County. Riding the bus is a great way to save money and reclaim your commute time for other purposes (reading, napping, etc.).
Santa Cruz Metro operates 34 service routes in Santa Cruz County, and has four transit centers that serve as hubs for the system. Possible destinations with Santa Cruz Metro are endless as many transit services are overlapping and interconnected.
Getting to the Bay Area, out to the Central Valley or down to Southern California can also be done via public transit. This section will provide some basic itineraries to get you where you need to go, but remember these are only a few of many possible trips that are available.
Santa Cruz Hot Spots by Bus
Santa Cruz Metro’s route 3 will take you to one of Santa Cruz’s best kept treasures: Natural Bridges State Park.
For a scenic trip to the world famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk or a seafood dinner on the Santa Cruz Wharf, take Santa Cruz Metro route 3 or 19 from the downtown Metro Center. Both the Wharf and Boardwalk are about a 15 minute walk from Pacific Station.
For a trip to Capitola’s picturesque wharf and seaside shopping area, simply hop on Route 66 at the Santa Cruz Metro Center. Then transfer to Route 55 at the Capitola Mall.
Gain easy access to this 800 acre freshwater wetland and great birding location by taking Santa Cruz Metro’s route 71 bus. Four miles of paved trails and 29 trail entrances in Watsonville neighborhoods offer opportunities to jog, walk or bicycle.
Check Santa Cruz Metro’s website for current schedules and route details: http://www.scmtd.com
To the Bay Area
Board Bay Area and Central Valley bound transit trips on the Highway 17 Express at either the Downtown Santa Cruz Metro Center or the Scotts Valley Transit Center.
From the Metro Center in Downtown Santa Cruz, board the Highway 17 Express. The fare is $7.00 each way or $14.00 for a day pass. The 17 Express will take you to the Diridon Train Station in Downtown San Jose. The Valley Transit Authority (VTA) is the public transportation provider in San Jose. The VTA provide rides throughout the San Jose area. www.vta.org
From the Metro Center in Downtown Santa Cruz, board the Highway 17 Express. The fare is $7.00 each way or $14.00 for a day pass. The 17 Express will take you to the Diridon Train Station in Downtown San Jose. While at Diridon Station, board Caltrain to San Francisco 4th & King Station. San Francisco MUNI is the public transportation provider in the San Francisco Area. MUNI can provide rides throughout San Francisco.
From the Metro Center in Downtown Santa Cruz, board the Highway 17 Express.The fare is $7.00 each way or $14.00 for a day pass. The 17 Express will take you to the Diridon Train Station in Downtown San Jose. At Diridon Station board the VTA Route 180 or 181 to the Fremont BART Station. If your destination is Fremont, then your last stop should be at the BART station. If you are traveling to Oakland, use BART to get you here.
To the Central Valley
The Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) provides service to the sub-urban cities that resided to the east of the Bay Area. The Ace Train has stops in San Jose, Santa Clara, Fremont, Pleasanton, Livermore, Tracy, Lathrop, and Stockton. To get to the Ace Train: From Santa Cruz, board the Highway 17 Express. The fare is $7.00 each way or $14.00 for a day pass. The 17 Express will take you to the Diridon Train Station in Downtown San Jose. The ACE Train departs from Diridon Station four (4) times a day, see the ACE website for the schedule. The ACE Train conductor will be posted at the entrance to the train track 15 minutes before the train departs. Tell the conductor where you would like to go and pay your fare (cash only). The conductor will also tell you which track the train is departing from, go to that track and board the train.
From the Metro Center in Downtown Santa Cruz, board the Highway 17 Express. The fare is $7.00 each way or $14.00 for a day pass. The 17 Express will take you to the Diridon Train Station in Downtown San Jose. At the Diridon station, purchase tickets for the Amtrak Capitol Corridor at the ticket desk inside the Diridon station. The ticket agent will tell you when and what track the train is departing. Board the train when appropriate to do so. Exit in Sacramento; the Sacramento Regional Transit (Sacramento RT) is the public transportation provider in Sacramento.
To Monterey County
Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) provides customers with easy and convenient connections to a variety of bus and rail lines for travel outside of Monterey County. MST provides direct service from Santa Cruz to Monterey on Line 78. Santa Cruz Metro’s routes 71 and 91 travel from the downtown Santa Cruz Metro station to the Watsonville Transit Center at 475 Rodriguez Street. At the Watsonville Transit Center, you can transfer to Monterey Salinas Transit (MST) bus routes to destinations in Monterey County.
Monterey-Salinas Transit Bus #78 runs directly between Monterey and Santa Cruz twice daily on weekdays, once in the morning and once in the evening. Check the schedule for details.
Monterey-Salinas Transit Bus #27 makes seven trips each weekday (every two hours) between Marina and Watsonville. Check the schedule for details.
Greyhound: Greyhound provides service to various locations throughout the Bay Area including San Francisco, Hayward, and Oakland from their Santa Cruz station, located within the Santa Cruz Metro Center. They also have a few buses a day to Monterey as well as service to Southern California and the Central Valley. www.greyhound.com 1-800-231-2222
Bikes on Buses
- Bikes racks holding three bikes each are mounted on the front of Santa Cruz Metro buses for the use of bus riders
- Bus riders must place their bikes and remove them from the racks without the assistance of the bus driver
- Consult Metro’s Bikes and Buses page or contact Santa Cruz Metro at 425-8600