Reimagine Metro

Waves of change are coming! Santa Cruz METRO is reimagining bus routes and frequencies to better meet our community's needs. Our goals are to:

  • Increase the amount of transit service
  • Make transit more useful and attractive for many people’s trips
  • Make transit more relevant to the community’s needs

The first wave of Reimagine METRO service changes was implemented in December 2023. More service will be added in March 2024. And big changes are planned for the second wave arriving by September 2024.


Here is a brief overview of where we are and where we are headed. To read the complete plan visit


To let METRO know what you think about these changes, click here to take our survey.


Phase 1 – METRO’s Existing Service as of March 2024

December 2023 Improvements

  • Higher frequency at UCSC. In September 2023, METRO introduced service every 15 minutes on Routes 18 and 19.
  • Simpler and more direct service between Santa Cruz and Watsonville. Routes 1 and 2 now offer faster service from Watsonville to Santa Cruz, by both taking Highway 1 between Watsonville and Aptos. Route 90X provides added express service at peak hours.
  • Simpler and more frequent service in Watsonville. Most Watsonville residents now live near a route that runs at least every 30 minutes on weekdays.
  • East-west service in Santa Cruz. Route 3 provides direct service between UCSC, Downtown Santa Cruz, and Live Oak.
  • More direct service between the San Lorenzo Valley and Santa Cruz. All trips on Route 35 now head directly to Downtown Santa Cruz. Emeline St is served by Route 4.

March 2024 Improvements

METRO will complete Phase 1 of Reimagine METRO in March with:

  • More evening service. Routes 2, 3B and 73 will provide service until midnight.
  • More express service. Route 90X will operate 6 morning trips and 6 evening trips, in both directions.
  • New Route 78. New all-day service on West Beach Street, Ohlone Parkway, and to the new County Social Service offices at Westridge. This route will also serve Watsonville Community Hospital and Freedom Centre.


Route Changes

Click here to see a larger version



click here to see the system map as of March 2024.


Phase 2 – Draft Network Proposal – Improvements September 2024

Major Service Increases

Santa Cruz METRO intends to increase service by over 50 percent in the next year, thanks to new funding and intensified operator recruitment. This will make it possible to improve frequencies and increase service in many places. The Draft Network proposal includes:

  • Frequent service east of Santa Cruz, Live Oak, Soquel, Aptos and Watsonville. Routes 1, 2 and 3 would all be upgraded to run every 15 minutes, seven days per week, as would the new Route 61.
  • Saturday and Sunday frequencies that match weekdays on most routes, including Routes 1, 2, 3, 17, 20, 35, 75. This would also include new Routes 61 and 62, and all routes serving the UCSC campus.
  • All-day express service between Watsonville and Santa Cruz on Route 90X, every 30 minutes on weekdays and every 60 minutes on weekends.
  • More consistent service on Highway 17. Nonstop service from Santa Cruz to San Jose, every 60 minutes, every day. Fewer Route 17 trips stopping in Scotts Valley.

East-West Route Change

This proposal includes an important change to east-west service in Santa Cruz, and service between Watsonville and Santa Cruz:

  • More direct east-west service in Santa Cruz and Live Oak. Routes 18 and 19 would be merged into Routes 1 and 2. Both routes would run from UCSC to Cabrillo College.
  • East of Cabrillo College, Routes 1 and 2 would become Routes 61 and 62. Because a local route from UCSC to Watsonville would be too long to operate reliably, METRO proposes to end Routes 1 and 2 at Cabrillo College. Routes 61 and 62 would serve the same areas currently on Routes 1 and 2, between Cabrillo College and Watsonville. Route 61 would be upgraded to service every 15 minutes, seven days per week. Direct service between Watsonville and Santa Cruz would still be provided on Route 90X, which would be upgraded to operate all day.

Click here to see the proposed system map for Phase 2.


Click here to see how service would change in Santa Cruz, Live Oak, Soquel and Capitola.


Click here to see how service would change in Watsonville, Freedom and Aptos.


Click here to see the proposed hours of service on each route.


Click here to take a survey about these proposed changes.


Benefits of METRO’s Fast, More Frequent and Reliable Service

METRO’s reimagined bus system with WAVE SERVICE will double ridership to more than 7 million rides per year. This equates to a VMT reduction of 9,852,903 miles per year and a CO2 emission reduction of 40,068 metric tons per year. Meaning less congestion and emissions in Santa Cruz County. That’s transformational.


METRO with the new WAVE SERVICE brings livable transportation alternatives to residents—no matter what age, income or race. Equitable and easy to use transportation options for everyone, including freedom of travel to education, job access, health care. All signs of a healthy community. Finally, but certainly not least, METRO with WAVE SERVICE brings opportunities to better align housing opportunity with quality transportation, which will bring enhanced State and federal funding opportunities.

Get Involved

Visit the project website to comment on where we are headed:

Project Timeline

  • March 2023: Phase 1 Public Outreach and Existing Conditions
  • May 2023 (Complete): Early Wins defined
  • July 2023 (Complete): Alternatives Report
  • July-August (Complete): Phase 1 Public Outreach:
  • September 22 (Complete): Public Hearing Meeting
  • December 2023: Phase 1 Reimagine METRO begins with Winter Service Schedule
  • February 2024(In progress) Public Review and Feedback on Phase 2 Plan
  • March 2024 (Review in Process): Additional Phase 1 changes
  • September 2024: Implementation of Phase 2 changes, based on public feedback on the Phase 2 Plan