The Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (METRO) announced last week that it is providing free rides to the upcoming Santa Cruz County Fair.
METRO’S new Route 79F was created specifically to transport fair-goers and will provide free daily service to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville from September 13-17. Free service on Route 79 weekend trips and daily ParaCruz service to the fairgrounds will also be provided during this time.
METRO has been expanding service to the fairgrounds for the Santa Cruz County Fair for several years in order to increase access and reduce emissions caused by personal vehicles, says Danielle Glagola, METRO’s marketing, communications and customer service director.
In recent years, METRO has seen an increase in ridership to the fair and in response added Route 79F in 2022. Glagola said that the additional route will hit the road every year from now on as they work to remove transit barriers for fair attendees.
Buses will depart from the Watsonville Transit Center at the top of the the hour from noon – 10pm on weekdays and 10am – 10pm on weekends, with return trips from the fair at 25 past the hour from 12:25pm – 10:25pm on weekdays and 10:25am – 10:25pm on weekends.
Expanded service to the fair is part of recent efforts by METRO to increase ridership. Youth Cruz is another program that gives free rides to K-12 students year-round, while Real-Time provides up to the minute bus arrival times to riders’ phones via text message. This winter, METRO will start the initial phase of theri Reimagine METRO initiative, which seeks to adapt local public transit to post-Covid travel patterns and to meet the community’s needs.