Getting Home for the Holidays

 Disclaimer: the video mentions Zimride, which no longer exists and has been replaced with Cruz511.

We're sure you're enjoying your time at UC Santa Cruz, but even the most independent person gets homesick. Whether you're traveling across an ocean or across the river, follow our travel tips to get you back home safely, quickly, and economically.

Remember to book early, confirm your arrangements and arrive on time.

Also, with the addition of Uber, Lyft, and other commercial rideshare services, students have additional ways other than those listened below to get to the airport. Students have reported excessively high fees for these services, especially during holiday periods. We encourage using private airport services, Cruz511, or public transportation if you need to get to the three Bay Area airports. Remember, traffic along Highways 17, 880, and 280 can often have unexpected traffic delays of up to 1 hour. Please leave at least 2-3 hours before your flight departure time.

Special thanks to the UCSC Carbon Fund Grant and our valued partners at Online Education for helping fund and produce the holiday travel video above!

Share a Ride     $

Cruz 511

Log in to find a fellow slug to carpool home with. Post your trip to the ride board and figure out your travel details with your driver. Share the costs with your carpool partner and save. Find out more at


Rent a car and pick it up right on campus; the price includes gas, insurance and more. Split the costs with friends for hourly or overnight rentals. Cars can be rented up to 14 days, so reserve in advance for popular times. Hourly rates start at $10.50/hour. Visit to sign up for a membership. 

Take the Bus     $$

Highway 17 Express

The Highway 17 Express leaves from the METRO downtown station approximately every 30 minutes and travels to San Jose Diridon Station. The fare is $7 one way and is not covered with your student ID. From the Diridon Station connects to VTA, DASH, lightrail, Caltrain, MST, Greyhound, Amtrak, and ACE.


Take a Greyhound bus to any destination right from downtown Santa Cruz. One way fares are approximately $40 to Los Angeles, $45 to Bakersfield and $32 to Sacramento. Direct routes are not currently available. Student discounts typically apply.

Take the Train     $$–$$$


Take the Amtrak bus from downtown Santa Cruz to the San Jose Diridon station to connect to the Coast Starlight Express for southern California, the Capitol Corridor train to San Francisco, Sacramento, and connections to Stockton and Bakersfield. Trip delays occur and may need to be reviewed for latest departure times before leaving for the train.


From San Jose Diridon connect to Caltrain going to the Bay Area locations such as Mountain View, Burlingame, San Bruno and ending in San Francisco. Day passes start at $7.50.


Bart starts at Fremont and Millbrae. Train and bus connections from San Jose Diridon work for students traveling to San Francisco and East Bay locations.

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit

Connections between San Francisco and Petaluma and Sonoma happen with the Golden Gate Transit (GGT) and Marin Transit services.

Hop on a Plane     $$$$

Airport Travel: Both San Jose Airport and San Francisco Airport are accessible via Highway 17 Express or a private Airport Shuttle service. Services average around $90 for San Jose and $130 for SFO. If you would like to provide a service tip, consider $5. Contact shuttle services to determine your departure time which can be affected by traffic and road conditions. Some services pick up at UCSC during the busy holiday periods.