Santa Cruz County History - Transportation

History of the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District: Appendix with tables showing service changes and ridership totals
by Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District

[Excerpted from: Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District. Short Range Transit Plan Updates: Fiscal Years 1984-1988, 1989-1993 and Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District. Short Range Transit Plan: Fiscal Years 1997-2001.]

"TABLE I-1 [from FY 1984-1988]
FY 71-72 through FY 81-82

1971 Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District took over actual operations of bus service in Santa Cruz County. Eight routes served Santa Cruz, Live Oak, Capitola, UCSC and Cabrillo College.
1973 Weekend and Evening Service on three lines.
1973 Aptos - Rio del Mar and La Selva Beach were annexed to SCMTD.
1974 Freedom area was annexed to the District.
1974 Watsonville was annexed to the District.
New Service: Airport, East Lake Blvd. and San Lorenzo Valley.
1975 New Service: Pinto Lake, 41st Avenue Express.
Service Extensions on 3 lines.
Service Revisions on the Capitola, Soquel, Live Oak, Seabright and Santa Cruz - Aptos - Watsonville routes, Boulder Creek to Felton and Kings Center.
1975 San Lorenzo and Scotts Valley areas were annexed to the District.
1976 Seven day services on all 22 routes.
Weekday Night Services on the University route.
New Service: Santa Cruz T.C. to the Upper Westside area and Western Drive; Seabright via East Cliff Drive; and Summer Beach Shuttles.
1977 Capitola Transit Center moved to Capitola Mall.
Major revisions: Westside of Santa Cruz; 3 new lines on the Eastside of Santa Cruz; service hours extended on several routes; Cabrillo night service.
Express Service on the University line.
1978 Corralitos was annexed to SCMTD.
1978 Service Improvements: Service to Felton and Big Basin.
1979 Service Extensions: Bonny Doon, Año Nuevo, Davenport, Lompico, Zayante, Glen Canyon, Branciforte Drive, County Hospital, Soquel.
Extended Hours on eleven routes.
Special Service: Capitola, Santa Cruz Beach Shuttles.
1980 New Service: Local Boulder Creek routes; 41st Avenue Express, Watsonville via Capitola; Watsonville, Capitola and Live Oak areas.
1981 New Service: San Andreas route.
Special Service: Live Oak Shuttle.
1981 Additional Service: Peak hour backup service during the school term, Monday through Friday on:
Route 30, Scotts Valley
Route 35, Boulder Creek
Route 36, Highway 9, North
Route 70, Watsonville via Capitola Road
Route 71, Watsonville via Soquel Drive" 1

"SCMTD's ridership has more than doubled from FY 1977-78 to FY 1986-87, increasing by 101 per cent from approximately 4.3 million to 8.5 million passengers (unlinked). The largest increase (52 per cent) occurred between FY 1977-78 and FY 1978-79 in conjunction with the passage of a transit sales tax and major service expansion.

"TABLE I-2 [Table I-1 from FY 1989-1993]

Revenue Passengers
Total Passengers
Per cent
1986-87 6,422,784 8,542,303 -1.4
1985-86 6,510,876 8,659,465 +5.3
1984-85 6,180,746 8,220,392 +5.0
1983-84 5,888,620 7,851,493 -7.7
1982-83 6,373,988 8,502,251 -2.9
1981-82 6,628,953 8,759,310 +4.2
1980-81 6,364,457 8,407,448 +4.6
1979-80 6,084,917 8,038,175 +24.1
1978-79 5,215,902 6,479,608 +52.5
1977-78 3,400,000 4,250,000 ---

"The ridership decline in 1982-83 and 1983-84 was probably due to elimination of Live Oak and Santa Cruz beach shuttles (the Santa Cruz Beach shuttle was reinstated in 1985), a recessionary economy, lower fuel costs, the 1981 fare increase, service reductions, and declining ridership counts from Cabrillo College and UCSC.

"However, ridership levels since 1984-85 have generally shown steady gains, probably due to easing recessionary influences, intensified marketing efforts, and service improvements. The slight decline in FY 1986-87 may be due to cutbacks in underused routes made in the fall of 1986." 2


"In the past, the District calculated ridership based on a complex formula derived from passenger revenues received, and the number and types of passes sold. The formula contained assumptions about the number of times that each pass would be used.

"In 1988, The District changed its fare structure. In doing so, the assumptions about ridership levels based on the old revenue based formula were no longer completely accurate.

"Beginning with FY 1988-89, the differentiation between linked and unlinked trips has been dropped. It is no longer possible to accurately estimate the relationship between lined and unlinked trips. Comparisons between years prior to 1988 and years after 1989 should not be made because ridership was derived using a formula for years before 1988.

"Starting with ridership data for FY 1992-93, ridership is estimated using an average fare per passenger, divided into passenger revenue. This average fare figure was determined using a statistically valid sampling technique done once every five years as required by the Federal Transit Administration. This average fare per passenger figure is accurate only for the time that the current fare structure is in effect. Therefore, ridership for 1992 and prior years cannot be recalculated because a different fare structure was in effect. Although it appears that a 5.4% ridership increase has occurred, it is likely that ridership was actually undercounted prior to 1993.

"Ridership for the District's regular, fixed route service is listed below, along with a table showing ridership on the Highway 17 Express Service, which is operated under a joint powers agreement with Santa Clara Transit. A new table has been added showing ridership on the ADA Paratransit Program.

"TABLE I-3 [Table I-1 from FY 1997-2001]
Intra-County Service, Fixed-Route

1995-96 N/A 6,638,512 +0.1%
1994-95 N/A 6,631,042 +1.8%
1993-94 N/A 6,512,168 +0.3%
1992-93 N/A 6,490,438 +5.4%
1991-92 N/A 6,159,576 -5.1%
1990-91 N/A 6,488,888 -4.0%
1989-90 N/A 6,759,427 -6.0%
1988-89 N/A 7,188,778 N/A
1987-88 6,530,113   +1.7%
1986-87 6,422,784   -1.4%
1985-86 6,510,876   +5.3%
1984-85 6,180,746   +5.0%
1983-84 5,888,620   -7.6%
1982-83 6,376,688   -3.8%
1981-82 6,628,953   +4.2%
1980-81 6,364,457   +4.6%
1979-80 6,084,917   +16.7%
1978-79 5,215,902   +53.4%
1977-78 3,400,000    

"Table I-4 [Table I-2 from FY 1997-2001]
Highway 17 Express Ridership

Fiscal Year Passenger Trips Percentage Change
1995-96 177,611 +0.9%
1994-95 175,964 +3.2%
1993-94 170,556 +4.3%
1992-93 163,453 +2.3%
1991-92 159,777 -6.9%
1990-91 171,581 N/A

"Table I-5 [Table I-3 from FY 1997-2001]
Paratransit Program Ridership

Fiscal Year Passenger Trips Percentage Change
1995-96 37,814 +32.6%
1994-95 28,516 +65.3%
1993-94 17,250 +120.0%
1992-93 7,840 N/A" 3


1 Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District. Short Range Transit Plan Updates: Fiscal Years 1984-1988, pp. I-3 - I-4.

2 Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District. Short Range Transit Plan Updates: Fiscal Years 1989-1993, pp. I-8 - I-9.

3 Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District. Short Range Transit Plan: Fiscal Years 1997-2001, pp. I-11 - I-12.

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