On March 29, 2023, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s Exploration Center proudly hosted the official launch ceremony of the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District’s One Ride at a Time (ORAT) campaign. The event 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 in the video below.
The launch 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.
How It Works
To participate in 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 the 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 a rider reaches 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 contribution of $20,000 to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
As bus ridership increases, not only can we as a community reduce our carbon footprint, we can also receive financial support from riders and vendors to directly support our ocean conservation efforts. A win, win proposition! To learn more, go to http://www.scmtd.com/en/onerideatatime.