Promoting safe campus transit services

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Ed Reiskin, Vice Chancellor for Finance, Operations and Administration

Dear Campus Community,

The UC Santa Cruz Police Department is continuing to investigate the cause of the tragic Dec. 12 shuttle crash. We appreciate the community’s patience and understanding while we seek to learn what happened. Because the police investigation is currently on-going we do not have information to share. We will provide more information when it concludes.

As we shared last month, in an abundance of caution we voluntarily took all our 35-foot shuttles out of service after the crash and asked the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to conduct an independent inspection of those shuttles. As a reminder, these inspections are separate from the ongoing investigation of the Dec. 12 crash, and the shuttle involved was not part of this review.

The inspections required us to use smaller shuttles and reduce our service levels during the start of winter quarter, causing longer waits during peak times. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding. Providing safe transportation is our highest priority and we are committed to taking all necessary and appropriate measures in support of safety.

As of this week, we have up to 12 shuttles running at peak times each day, the same level of service as in the fall. This includes eight 35-foot shuttles. All shuttles currently in service have been independently inspected and meet all state and federal laws and regulations.

We recently received the final results of CHP’s inspection of the 35-foot shuttles. While UC Santa Cruz has received satisfactory ratings from the CHP for more than two decades, this report has revealed some important areas for improvement and resulted in an unsatisfactory rating. The inspection showed that the campus has not been systematically inspecting shuttles at certain set intervals; that the campus was not inspecting the emergency window exits every 90 days; and that the campus needs to ensure that DMV records are consistent with campus records.

None of the issues included in this report were identified in our previous annual CHP inspections, including our most recent previous inspection in September 2023. We take these issues seriously and the safety of everyone in our campus community is our highest priority as we expeditiously address the report’s findings.

You can find the final report and our work to address the findings online, along with a set of frequently asked questions about our transit operation. In addition to addressing the areas the CHP identified as needing improvement, we have also asked the CHP to conduct specialized training for our staff to promote safe transit operations.

To further promote having a high-quality vehicle maintenance program that follows industry standards and best practices, I am also bringing in an independent third-party expert to conduct a comprehensive review of our maintenance program. We will be ready to quickly make changes and improvements as appropriate.

We have made the adjustments and repairs recommended by the CHP report to all of our 35-foot shuttles, and a certified, independent expert inspected them to confirm they are ready to return to service. Starting in early January, that expert began inspecting the rest of our shuttles, and that process will continue through this month. Like with the 35-foot shuttles, none will return to service until they are cleared.

The CHP is planning to reinspect our shuttles and maintenance program in May and we are committed to again earning a satisfactory rating, the highest possible designation.

The safety of our campus community is our utmost priority and we want every rider to be confident that our drivers and shuttles are meeting or exceeding expectations in the delivery of transit services.


Ed Reiskin
Vice Chancellor for Finance, Operations and Administration