New bus service Santa Cruz to Monterey

Public transportation between Santa Cruz and Monterey, California

I was surprised to see this Monterey Salinas Transit (MST) bus in downtown Santa Cruz last night.

Monterey Salinas Transit bus at downtown Santa Cruz Metro transit center

I asked around and discovered there’s a brand new MST 78 route that began about two weeks ago, providing twice daily service between Santa Cruz and Monterey, California. According to MST, this is the first time public bus service has operated directly between Santa Cruz and Monterey.

On Weekdays, Route 78 stops at the Santa Cruz downtown transit center, Ocean & Water, Dominican Hospital, Cabrillo College, and State Park Road in Aptos. Monterey County weekday stops include the Salinas Park & Ride, Moss Landing, Castroville, several stops on Del Monte Boulevard, Tyler & Franklin, and the Presidio of Monterey through the Franklin Gate.

Weekend trips stop at Santa Cruz downtown, Ocean & Water, Moss Landing, Sand City, the Del Monte stops, and Monterey Transit Center, and Tyler & Franklin before entering the Presidio at the Franklin Gate. The Tyler & Franklin stop is near the Monterey Wharf and is the closest stop to Cannery Row and the Monterey Aquarium.

MST Route 78

MST 78 timetable

One way fare is only $3.50 for the 40+ mile trip, which is a screaming deal if you can handle the limited schedule. Unlike Santa Cruz Metro, MST does transfers for other bus routes, but I don’t know how that works for Route 78 so ask the operator.

The bus shown above is the same 45 foot MCI coach used for MST 55 to San Jose. One of the luggage bays has a slide out bike drawer than can hold up to two bicycles. If both slots are taken, I’ve known MST drivers to allow bikes inside the passenger area on a space available basis.

Slide out bike rack

Visit for complete route map, timetable and fare information. This information is correct as of February 14, 2013.

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