The Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transportation District operates multiple local routes within Santa Cruz County, as well as a few, yet important, express services, namely:
Highway 17 Express between Santa Cruz and San Jose
Route 91X between Santa Cruz and Watsonville, operating weekdays only
The agency also operates numerous limited services, running to numerous beach towns and mountain communities within the county, using a combination of low- and high-floored buses. And it is gradually phasing out its diesel bus fleet to cut its emissions further, replacing them with a fleet of CNG-powered coaches.
Highway 17 Express
This service is operated as a joint collaboration between Santa Cruz Metro (the main operator), Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Amtrak California, Altamont Commuter Express, and Caltrain. It operates daily between San Jose Diridon Station and Santa Cruz MetroCenter (many trips operate via Scotts Valley Transit Center), with weekday extensions to San Jose State University and Soquel Park-and-Ride.
Its fleet includes:
- New Flyer C40LF (10xx Series)
- New Flyer C40LFR (28xx Series)
- Orion V CNG (23xx Series, the only high-floored bus type)
All of which are in a suburban configuration, which include the following features:
- Single door
- A combination of forward- and side-facing seats
- Forward-facing seats recline (similar to Golden Gate Transit), with adjustable headrests
- Reading lights
- Overhead luggage racks
- Air conditioning, with no open windows
In contrast to the high-back seating found with the Highway 17 Express, local buses operating within Santa Cruz County have a more urban feel to them, including:
- Durable plastic-metal seating, some with padding, others with upholstery
- Select buses having flip-dot headsigns (especially true on the 98xx series)
- Overhead lights on all coaches
- Despite having air conditioning, its windows can be opened for fresh air
- No overhead baggage racks
New Flyer D35LF (98xx Series)
This bus type is slowly being retired for the newer, more environmentally-friendly Xcelsior XN35 (CNG-powered) bus.
New Flyer C35LF (22xx Series)
New Flyer Xcelsior XN35 (13xx Series)
New Flyer D40LF (98xx Series)
This bus type is slowly being retired from service, due to be replaced by the new Xcelsior XN40 (cf. below).
New Flyer C40LF (22xx and 26xx Series)
New Flyer C40LFR (12xx Series)
This version has two doors
New Flyer Xcelsior XN40 (16xx Series)
Three of these units currently see limited service since it was debuted in May 2018.
In January 2018, Santa Cruz Metro leased three 60-foot New Flyer D60LF buses from Complete Coach Works for use on its UC Santa Cruz lines (Routes 10, 15, 16, 19, and 20). Those routes are prone to severe overcrowding that SCMTD uses them to test their feasibility in keeping up with ridership demand. As of June 2018, UC Santa Cruz students and staff opted to keep operating these buses, increasing the likelihood that Santa Cruz Metro will ultimately buy articulated buses to support university demand.
Santa Cruz Metro operates its paratransit service in-house, called Metro ParaCruz, in which it is wholly managed by the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transportation District.