Supporting affordable, sustainable transportation

Bicycle rider on campus bike path

As global events continue to lead to concerns about climate change, rising inflation, and increased gas prices, many faculty, staff, and students may be seeking more affordable and sustainable transportation options. UCSC and TAPS are committed to providing programs to help reduce barriers to accessing campus through sustainable and shared transportation options. Below are some of the resources our community can take advantage of to ease the cost of transportation to both the individual and the climate: 

E-bike Financing Programs

E-bikes are gaining in popularity as a way to travel around the hilly UCSC campus. There are several programs and rebates that can help make an ebike more affordable. And for those who qualify, several ebike merchants offer zero- or low-interest financing. Check the TAPS website to see which programs are best for you. 

Electric Vehicle Programs

If you are ready to make the change to an electric vehicle, there are also several programs and rebates to help reduce the cost. Lower income applicants may also qualify for increased rebates or discounts. And TAPS has several options for charging your vehicle on the residential campus and Coastal Science Campus.


UCSC’s Vanpool program has vans traveling to UCSC from Monterey County, south Santa Cruz County and San Jose. Vanpooling  helps cut down on carbon emissions, reduces travel stress, and saves wear and tear on your car (if you have one). The cost of a Vanpool is partially subsidized, so it saves you money too. Check the TAPS website to see if there’s a Vanpool route near you, or contact the Vanpool office to see about starting a new route.

Cruz511 and Go Santa Cruz County

Use Cruz511 to find a regular carpool, or you can even post a ride for a single trip. Sign up using your UCSC email address to limit your visibility to the private UCSC network. You can also earn gift cards, Zipcar credit, a BikeLink card, a one-month bus pass, or even donate to charity just for traveling to work or class using a sustainable method. You can choose to bike, walk, carpool, vanpool, telecommute, or ride the bus to earn rewards. Sign up for Go Santa Cruz County and log your trips to get started.

Slug Bike Life

Biking is one of the fastest ways to get around campus and the rest of Santa Cruz. Slug Bike Life provides several programs to help our cycling slugs get around safely. You can build confidence through engaging bike classes, get free helmets and lights to protect yourself while riding, or learn how to choose the best e-bike for you. Visit to sign up for classes, giveaways and email updates. 

Campus Transit and METRO Buses

TAPS provides campus shuttles to help affiliates travel to destinations on campus, and we have recently increased service on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Check the TAPS website for the current Campus Transit schedules.  Students can ride Santa Cruz METRO buses fare-free throughout Santa Cruz County using only their student ID cards (with a current quarter sticker). All UCSC employees may purchase a METRO bus pass for only $16 per month (a $65 value). Check the Santa Cruz METRO website for routes and schedules. 

Telecommuting and Remote Work

If you are eligible, one of the best ways to reduce emissions and costs is to telecommute or work remotely. Talk to your supervisor about a potential hybrid arrangement to work remotely part of the week, or even see if a fully remote agreement would be an option. Check the UCSC website for telecommuting guidelines and resources.

Sustainable transportation not only helps UCSC achieve the goals and benchmarks outlined in the Sustainability Plan and the Long Range Development Plan, but it also helps reduce individual transportation costs and carbon emissions. We understand that many affiliates have been affected by the recent upheaval as well as the uncertainty of the last two years of the pandemic. We hope these resources provide additional options you may not have known about previously. Thank you for using sustainable transportation whenever you can. 

For program updates and other transportation news, sign up for Slugs on the Move, TAPS’ newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook…and stay tuned for an exciting announcement about bike share later this year.