Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District Rolls Out Unique Fundraiser
In what may be the first of its kind, the agency that runs Santa Cruz County’s bus system is hosting a unique, long-term campaign to encourage people to ride the bus, which would reduce their carbon footprint and reduce single-passenger vehicle rides. It would also raise funds for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
How It Works
To participate in One Ride at a Time (ORAT), a bus rider needs to create an account on the online ridesharing portal administered by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission’s GO Santa Cruz County program (scmtd.com/gosantacruz) or through the Commute Tracker app (scmtd.com/ctsetup).
Once the rider creates an account, he/she/they will use the portal or the app 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 riders reach 250 points, or 25 rides, they can use the portal or the app to select one of METRO’s nonprofit partners, such as the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, to receive a $10 donation. The participant can also see the greenhouse gas emissions reductions they’ve made by riding public transit.
Vendors of the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District can also contribute to the effort via the district’s Social Equity & Community Funding Policy. At the launch event, METRO and its partners recognized Avaap and an anonymous donor for their contributions of $20,000 to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
Launching the Campaign
On March 29, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s Exploration Center (across from Santa Cruz’s Cowell Beach) hosted the official launch ceremony of the ORAT campaign. The ceremony showcased the environmental benefits of transit, encouraged bus ridership, and encouraged the protection of our region’s extraordinary natural resources. It also described how with every logged ride on a METRO bus, ORAT would donate to program partners protecting the environment, including the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The event is captured nicely in the video below.
The event speakers included Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson, Santa Cruz Councilmember and METRO Board Chair; Lisa Wooninck, Ph.D. Superintendent Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; Michael Tree, METRO CEO/General Manager; Manu Koenig, County Supervisor, Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission Board Chair and METRO Board Member; photographer Frans Lanting and writer Chris Eckstrom, whose images are being used in the campaign; Ginaia Kelly, Chapter Director of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation; and Santa Cruz Mayor Fred Keeley, who also serves as a board member for the Sanctuary Foundation.
Why It’s Significant
This unique form of fundraising is aimed at current bus riders and also encourages people who have not recently done so to use public transit. That incentive is added to another innovation the transit district is undertaking to increase its fleet of zero-emission buses. From the Foundation’s perspective, ORAT is a way to develop a new, long-term source of funds. As bus ridership increases, so can the financial support that riders and vendors can provide to support environmental efforts. A win, win proposition! To learn more, go to http://www.scmtd.com/en/onerideatatime