Information for New Enrolled Students

TAPS provides sustainable transportation resources to help students travel through their day, both on and off campus.


Walking is one of the primary ways to get around campus, and often the fastest. Don't forget to bring a good pair of walking shoes when you come to campus!

Once you learn how to get around on foot, you'll not only avoid arriving late for class because of traffic or delayed buses, but you'll also get to to discover many of the unique features that make UCSC special—many of which cannot been seen from roadways.

And getting around on foot also reduces your carbon footprint; even a few walking trips will help reduce emissions, conserve fossil fuels, and reduce impacts on campus shuttles...not to mention provide you with some great exercise.

Download a copy of the Campus Walking Map and start exploring!


UCSC’s Bike Culture is a vibrant diverse group of people riding for fun, health, environment, convenience, and economics. We support all types of riders, novice to expert. If you plan on cycling at UCSC be sure to bring a helmet!

You should also check out the Bike Programs and Services section of our website to learn about campus bike resources including:

  • BCycle Electric Bike Share
  • how to obtain a mandatory bike license for riding in Santa Cruz
  • free bike safety classes where you will learn how to ride confidently and choose the best local roads and trails for cycling
  • the importance of using bike safety equipment including always wearing a helmet, and bike lights for night riding
  • a bike shuttle to campus for students that commute

Transit and Buses

In 1972, the students of UC Santa Cruz voted to create a new mandatory fee to fund unlimited, fare-free rides aboard the public transit buses of the Santa Cruz Metropolitian Transit District (SCMTD). UCSC was possibly the first university in the nation to fund public transportation in this manner, and has served as a model for similar student fee measures introduced at the University of Washington, CU Boulder, and UC Berkeley. Over the past forty years, UCSC students have supported increases to the quarterly Student Transit Fee in ten of twelve ballot measures. Besides providing fare-free ridership on METRO buses, these funds support the operation of Campus Transit's Day and Night shuttles, the late-night Night Core transit service, and the Disability Van Service. The Student Transition Fee is part of each student's UCSC quarterly registration fees.

The Santa Cruz Metro and UCSC TAPS Transit Bus Systems
Santa Cruz METRO Buses: METRO buses operate throughout Santa Cruz County. Regular service is provided between downtown Santa Cruz and the campus. Campus residents use METRO buses to get to downtown Santa Cruz and other local destinations. To travel between campus and downtown Santa Cruz board buses with any of these route signs showing on the front of the bus: Routes 15 or 18 Laurel Street, Route 10 High Street, Route 19 Lower Bay Street, and routes 20 and 22 to the Coastal Science Campus and Westside Research Park. Many students who reside off-campus use METRO buses to commute to and from campus. Detailed route and schedule information for METRO buses is available at

UCSC Shuttles (TAPS Transit): The Campus Transit system operates two daytime routes (the Loop and Upper Campus) Monday through Friday. Nighttime service is available seven days a week. On-campus shuttle schedules are available on the UCSC Shuttles page. 

Student ID Card Bus Pass
Through an agreement between the University and METRO (SCMTD) students that display a valid UCSC ID card ride Metro buses fare-free; Student Transit Fee funds pay for student rides on Metro buses. Student ID cards are issued by ID Card Services which is located on the second floor of the Bay Tree building, (831) 459-2990 or A valid quarter sticker is required; stickers are available each quarter at your college office or department. TAPS provides temporary bus passes to each college at the start of Fall and Winter quarters for new students that have not obtained their Student ID Card; new students receive temporary bus passes at their college. Details about student ID cards for Metro bus use is available on the Student ID Cards for Metro Bus Use page.

Share a Ride

Help reduce carbon emissions and traffic on campus by sharing a ride. UCSC has several options to help give you flexibility and freedom without needing to bring your car to campus.

Cruz 511
Sign up at to find carpool partners. You can choose whether you share your commute only with UCSC's private network, or open up the possibilities and choose to be part of the regional network. Just enter your commute and select which network you'd like to share with to get started. To learn more about how to share your commute on Cruz511, check out their FAQ's.

UCSC Vanpools
Commuting students can sign up for UCSC Vanpools. Save the wear and tear on your car, reduce emissions, and meet a fun group of people all at the same time. Vanpools have home routes from San Jose to Monterey. Visit the Vanpool page for more information and to find an available vanpool near you.

Please Note: UCSC's Vanpool program is still operating for essential workers and students traveling to campus. Vans will be carrying a maximum of 5 riders and will require all passengers to wear masks the entire trip. The Vanpool Coordinator will be taking new applications for enrollment for fall and will continue to work with accommodating all new and existing riders. 

Zipcar is a membership-based car rental program providing self-service access to vehicles on campus, 24/7. At UCSC, all students 18 years of age and older are eligible to join Zipcar for affordable, convenient access to a car when needed, for personal use. Reserve a car online by the hour or day—just pay as you go. Prices start at $10.50 per hour and include all vehicle fees, gas, insurance, mileage and reserved parking. Learn more from Zipcar.


Leave Your Car at Home
Because parking is such a limited resource at UCSC, it is strongly recommended that students who are not eligible to purchase an on–campus parking permit not bring vehicles to Santa Cruz. Residential streets near campus and in downtown Santa Cruz have strictly enforced parking permit requirements managed by the City of Santa Cruz Permit Parking Program.

Off-campus paid parking options are extremely limited, and are usually sold out by mid-September. Detailed information is available on the Off-campus Parking Lots page.

Freshmen/Sophomore Parking Prohibition
First and second-year students with less than 90 units that reside in University housing facilities, including University Town Center, are not eligible to purchase a permit (except motorcycle permits) to park on-campus. Detailed information is available on the Residential Freshmen/Sophomore Parking Prohibition page. Also see the Determining Undergraduate Student Parking Permit Eligibility section below.

How We Determine Undergraduate Student Parking Permit Eligibility Status 
Permit eligibility status for residential students is determined by the number of units (90 units) completed by Fall of the current academic year. This status remains in place and does not change throughout the academic year. Residential students who have completed less than 90 units or achieve this threshold by the current academic year are ineligible for parking, but may pursue parking through an appeal process.  

Parking Appeal for Commuting Students with Critical Need 
Commuting or residential first- and second-year students with critical need for an R parking permit can submit an appeal for consideration by exception. For questions regarding appeals, email Patrick Randolph.

Daily R Permit Sales
Daily R permits may be available to parking-eligible students if lots have capacity. A certain number of daily R permits are offered on a first come, first serve basis each day. Stop by the TAPS Sales Office (starting at 7:00am Monday – Friday) to check availability.

Other Permit Options
Long-term NC Night Commuter permits are currently available and allow eligible commuting undergraduates access to the Core West parking structure, the East Field House, and most college parking lots, after 4:30 p.m. The cost is $39 quarterly, or $5 nightly. To purchase a quarterly NC permit apply here. Nightly NC permits must be purchased at the TAPS Sales Office (7:00am to 5:00pm Monday – Friday).

Short-term Medical Parking
To obtain a short-term Medical permit you need to submit medical documentation to Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS). The documentation must be from a medical professional (e.g., physician, surgeon, chiropractor, optometrist, etc.), and should include the duration of the Medical parking need. Students can submit documentation for up to one month in duration directly to the TAPS Sales Office (, or call the Sales Office at (831) 459-4543 for other arrangements.

Documentation for longer than one month of Medical parking must come directly from either the Student Health Center or the Disability Resource Center.

Graduate Student Parking Permits
Detailed information on the types of parking permits that are available to eligible graduate students is available on the Graduate Student Parking page.

How To Check On the Status of Your Parking Permit Order
The best way to inquire about the status of a parking permit application or order is to email Please keep in mind that during our peak times, email responses may be delayed.

Visitor Parking
Visitors of students who reside on campus may purchase one-day temporary parking permits at the Main Entrance Kiosk (located just inside the campus main entrance) from 7:00am to 1:00pm on weekdays. From 1:00pm to 5:00pm permits must be purchased at the TAPS Sales Office. Visitors who want to purchase temporary permits for more than one day up to a maximum of three consecutive days must do so at the TAPS Sales Office. Sales Office hours are 7:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. A picture ID and vehicle registration or rental agreement are required at the time of purchase. Go to the visitor parking page or email if you have questions regarding visitor parking.


See Also