“Make them less car dependent,” says vice mayor of suburban bedroom community of effort to promote transit ridership for children.
The half price summer youth fare adopted by the Santa Cruz Metro board of directors is effective today. K-12 students can now ride all local routes in Santa Cruz County for $1.
“We want to get young people on our buses and educate them on the value of public transportation” said Dene Bustichi, the Scotts Valley city councilman who chairs the Santa Cruz Metro Board and introduced this summer fare proposal. “This way, when they’re ready to get their licenses, maybe they’ll choose to continue to ride the buses instead and make them less dependent on cars.”
Alex Clifford, Santa Cruz METRO’s CEO/General Manager, explained that this program has two goals. The first goal is aimed at those who are too young to ride alone. The reduced bus fare will make it easier for parents to take their children to beaches, museums, libraries, Big Basin and other entertainment venues in the county. The second goal seeks to encourage those who are old enough to travel alone to use the bus to get to entertainment venues on their own.
“Our hope is to encourage young people to become regular riders of the bus and to help keep them occupied with access to quality activities during the summer months” said Clifford.
The short term transit plan adopted by the Metro Board in May identified high school and middle school students as a currently untapped market opportunity. Young people who become comfortable with METRO and regard it positively will not only consider riding, but also will understand its value for the community and support it in the future.