Yes on 73 - Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Measure 73 on the ballot?

What’s on the ballot?

What happens if Measure 73 passes?

What happens is Measure 73 fails?

Why doesn't the school or the Regents dedicate more money to this?

What exactly is being proposed?

What is a “fee”?

Why is the fee schedule front-loaded?

Why does the proposed fee end after 11 years? What happens then?

What are the operating costs and how would my money be spent?

How will students know that their fees are being used wisely?

How does Measure 73 differ from 2018’s Measure 69?

Why do we pay METRO that amount?  Didn’t we cut services?

What are METRO’s operating costs?

Will the Referendum aim to reinstate service that has been cut thus far or will it keep it at current levels?

Why can’t parking fees and citations pay for transit?

I already pay enough to go to school here; why should students be paying for this?

Do other UC students pay for transit on their campuses?

Seeing that attendance increases each year, what happened that it cannot continue to be paid for with $111.66?

Why not stop increasing enrollment to better control the impact on transit services?

I never take the bus, so why should I support this?

I'm a senior, so why should I vote when it won't affect me?

If this Measure fails, will there be another next year?



Why is Measure 73 on the ballot?

In 1972, the UCSC student body approved the first Student Transit Fee of $3.50 per student per quarter to fund a service agreement with the Santa Cruz METRO to allow fare-free rides throughout Santa Cruz County for registered students. Eventually, this fee was also used to fund UCSC Campus Transit shuttles. Both of these transit services continue to be primarily funded through this compulsory fee.

Since 1972, UCSC students have voted to approve increases to the Student Transit Fee ten times—most recently over ten years ago in 2008, to $111.66 per student. Over the course of that span, this fee has become less and less sufficient to fund previously-provided levels of transit service. In Spring 2018, the Student Ballot included Measure 69, which proposed increasing the Student Transit Fee in order to maintain transit service to, and throughout, campus. Unfortunately, Measure 69 failed.

As a result of this, in October 2018, Campus Transit operating hours and frequencies were reduced to balance the operating budget. After additional financial analysis of Fall and Winter quarter data, it was determined in April that additional Campus Transit service reductions were necessary.

Should the referendum fail this year, service levels (for both METRO and Campus Transit) will continue to be reduced or eliminated.

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What’s on the ballot?

Shall the undergraduates and graduate students of UCSC increase the current quarterly Transportation Fee of $111.66 per student by $10.34 in Fall 2019, an additional $14.00 in Fall 2020, an additional $15.00 in Fall 2021, an additional $12.00 in Fall 2022, an additional $8.00 in Fall 2023, an additional $3.00 each Fall Quarter from 2024 through 2027, and an additional $4.00 in Fall 2028 and Fall 2029 ($191 quarterly total) which will provide additional funding to sustain transit services provided through Campus Transit Operations and the service contract with Santa Cruz Metro Transit District?

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What happens if Measure 73 passes?

TAPS will be able to:

  • Maintain all students’ fare-free rides for campus and county-wide travel
  • Maintain campus transit and METRO services for student needs both on and off campus
  • Build a reserve to help support replacing the aging campus bus fleet, including a transition to electric vehicles
  • Implement technology to enhance efficiency and adjust to ridership trends

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What happens if Measure 73 Fails?

  • The Student Transit Fee will remain at $111.66 per student, per quarter.
  • Service levels for both METRO and campus transit will continue to be reduced or eliminated every year until the transit fee increases
  • Remaining transit services will be more crowded, resulting in pass-by’s, longer wait times and decreased ability to get to and around campus from certain locations.
  • Parking will be impacted due to more commuters driving to campus.

NOTE - The Disability Van Service will not be affected by any proposed service cuts

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Why doesn't the school or the Regents dedicate more money to this?

In conformity with the University’s implementation of the Master Plan for Higher Education in California, adopted by the State Legislature in 1960, certain activities necessary to the operation of UC and CSU campuses have been restricted from receiving state funding. Thus, with very few exceptions, such as Disability Van Services, state money cannot be used for parking or transit.

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What exactly is being proposed?

The current mandatory student transit fee is $111.66 per quarter. Measure 73 proposes about $10 more per quarter for the first year. Annual increases will vary per year for the following 10 years, designed to better keep up with rising operational costs. After 10 years, the fee is scheduled to revert back to its current level. At that time, if the funding is still needed, TAPS will work with the Student Fee Advisory Committee (SFAC) on a subsequent fee measure.

Table showing Measure 73 proposed fee increases over 10 years
Academic Year Current Fee Proposed Quarterly Fee Increase Total New Quarterly Fee Portion to Transit Portion to Return to Aid (RTA)
2018-19 $111.66 $101.00 $10.66
2019-20 $10.34 $122.00 $107.93 $14.07
2020-21 $14.00 $136.00 $117.31 $18.69
2021-22 $15.00 $151.00 $127.36 $23.64
2022-23 $12.00 $163.00 $135.40 $27.60
2023-24 $8.00 $171.00 $140.76 $30.24
2024-25 $3.00 $174.00 $142.77 $31.23
2025-26 $3.00 $177.00 $144.78 $32.22
2026-27 $3.00 $180.00 $146.79 $33.21
2027-28 $3.00 183.00 $148.80 $34.20
2028-29 $4.00 $187.00 $151.48 $35.52
2029-30 $4.00 $191.00 $154.16 $36.84
Proposed fee increases sunset after Summer Quarter 2030
2030-31 -$79.34 $111.66 $101.00 $10.66

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What is a “fee”?

All UCSC students pay various types of mandatory fees in order to enroll and attend school here, each funding different aspects of the University. These include Tuition, Student Services Fees and Campus-Based Fees/Referenda. The latter, Campus-Based Fees/Referenda, are voted on by students via the campus elections process, and includes the Student Transit Fee. Click on the following links to view complete lists of fees for:

Undergrads

Graduate Students

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Why is the fee schedule front-loaded?

The first four years of increases are designed to build a reserve capacity to help support the replacement of the aging bus fleet, including transition to electric vehicles and development of infrastructure to support those vehicles.

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Why does the proposed fee end after 11 years? What happens then?

Generally, students are hesitant to approve fees that never end, so the fee referendum includes a "sunset" to this fee increase after 11 years. At that time, if the funding is still needed, TAPS will work with SFAC on a subsequent fee measure.

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What are the operating costs and how would my money be spent?

Here’s how the funds are projected to be spent in the first year. ALL funds from the student transit fee are used for transit operations and do not include administrative costs:

  • Fare Free METRO Service  = 53%
    • A standard METRO fare is $2/ride. Based on our ridership data, UCSC students pay about $1.70 per ride though our agreement with METRO.
    • A month-long METRO Pass retails for about $65, which would be about $195 per quarter.
  • Campus Transit Service = 32%
  • Return to Aid = 12%
    • For more information about Return to Aid, click here and see section 81.20
  • Disability Van Service = 3%
    • The Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor has made a commitment to provide $200K in annual funding to help support Disability Van Services going forward.

View a three-year projection of revenues and expenses


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How will students know that their fees are being used wisely?

This funding will continue to be responsibly managed and will have student oversight! An annual meeting between TAPS staff and the Student Fee Advisory Committee (SFAC) is included in the referendum language. Each Winter Quarter, SFAC will review the end-of-year Campus Transit budget, service delivery and ridership demand during the previous Fall, and plans for possible transit service adjustments for the next academic year. Based on this review SFAC can recommend reducing or delaying the next scheduled fee increase. Additionally, students have representation on the Advisory Committee on Campus Transit and Parking (ACCTP) and will provide monthly guidance.

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How does Measure 73 differ from 2018’s Measure 69?

Based on feedback from student leadership in Spring 2018, there were several key elements of Measure 69 that the students were concerned about. These included:

  • Carryforward Deficit Reduction Plan
    • The Transit program was carrying an approximate $3M deficit balance due to the lack of fee increases over the past 11 years with no service reductions. Measure 69 included funding to pay this deficit off and students thought that they shouldn’t have to fund this. The Chancellor and EVC/CP committed funds to eliminate the deficit which enabled TAPS to directly and significantly reduce the overall cost of the fee increase in Measure 73.  
  • 20 year period
    • Students thought that the 20 year period was too long. Measure 73 has a reduced period of 10 years after which the fee would sunset.
  • Funding for the Disability Van Service (DVS)
    • Students thought that the campus should be contributing to the cost of operating the Disability Van Service. The Chancellor and EVC/CP have committed $200,000 permanently to support the DVS.
  • Overall cost of the Fee
    • Students thought that Measure 69 was too high both on a year-to-year basis and over the 20-year period. Measure 73 is significantly lower in all respects (see the fee schedule above).
    • For comparison here are two examples:
Table showing Measure 73 and Measure 69 fee comparison
Measure 73 Measure 69 (2018)
First Year Increase $10.34 $26.00
Total Increase $79.34 (over 10 years) $146.00 (over 20 years)

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Why do we pay METRO that amount? Didn’t we cut services?

As a result of Measure 69’s failure last year, Campus Transit operating hours and frequencies were reduced to balance the operating budget. Per the recommendation of ACCTP, METRO services were prioritized in order to continue to accommodate our large number of commuting students. With the UCSC/METRO fare-free arrangement, UCSC students pay only about $1.70 per ride, as opposed to a standard, $2.00 per ride fee.

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What are METRO’s operating costs?

Just like many other transit agencies, the farebox doesn’t cover their expenses. Rather, they are heavily subsidized through various state and federal transit assistance programs.

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Will the Referendum aim to reinstate service that has been cut thus far or will it keep it at current levels?

As indicated within the Fee Referendum language, the overarching goal for the transit fee is to provide the right mix of transit services for students that move on and off the main campus—sometimes throughout Santa Cruz County—and who move throughout the main campus. An increased transit fee will be used to sustain current programs and services and to provide financial capacity to address projected operational cost increases for both the SCMTD service contract and the Campus Transit program.

TAPS will continue to adjust services and delivery methods to achieve operational efficiencies and cost savings. Efficiencies will be achieved through technology innovations, alternate service delivery models, routing adjustments and potentially utilizing additional larger capacity vehicles (such as METRO’s articulated buses).

We’ll always look for new and innovative ways to increase service levels, but we must operate within our budget going forward.  

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Why can’t parking fees and citations pay for transit?

With the exception of a small subsidy to support the Bike Shuttle, neither parking fees nor citation revenue pay for transit services. Cross-pollinating these two budgets will likely cause problems for the Parking/Programs budget as well, particularly the ability to maintain a reserve for maintenance, projects, and new parking facilities. Plus, it would result in parking fee increases.

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I already pay enough to go to school here; why should students be paying for this?

In 1972, the UCSC student body approved the first Student Transit Fee of $3.50 per student per quarter to fund a service agreement with METRO to allow fare-free rides throughout Santa Cruz County. Since that first election, UCSC students have voted to approve increases to the Student Transit Fee ten times—most recently in Spring 2006, when Measure 24 proposed raising the Fee to $111.66 by Fall Quarter 2008. With some small exceptions, Campus Transit has always been, and continues to be, primarily funded by student fees. Other funding sources include:

  • External Grants:  Since 1990, TAPS has obtained grants totaling more than $4 million to fund transit improvement projects. These have included three on-campus traffic signals, the addition of bike lanes along Hagar and Heller Drives, and construction of new bus pullouts around campus.
  • $3 parking fine surcharge: This was implemented in 1988, and has remained unchanged. It brings in about $60K/annually.
  • CHES contributes to the operation of shuttle services during non-academic hours to accommodate the Campus Community

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Do other UC students pay for transit on their campuses

Yes, many other UC campuses have similar models in place. Fees and fare-structures vary from site-to-site, as do levels of service. This is due to a multitude of factors, including the number of transit operators serving a particular campus, ridership data and the particular arrangements campuses have in place with their transit partners and student bodies.

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Seeing that attendance increases each year, what happened that it cannot continue to be paid for with $111.66?

First, $111.66 has long been inadequate to fund the services that have been provided, and it resulted in a budget deficit. Second, while attendance growth helps, it’s just not enough to counter rising costs. For example, in 1995 UCSC had about 9,500 graduates and undergraduates who paid $94 per quarter for a lot less service. If fees had kept pace with costs, it would now be approximately $158 per quarter, per student. That means we're at about 70% of what would be necessary today to fund an equivalent level of service that was provided in 1995.

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Why not stop increasing enrollment to better control the impact on transit services?

TAPS responsibility is to provide and manage access to UC Santa Cruz and oversee the planning, design and operation of the facilities and programs associated with parking, transit services, rideshare and bicycle/pedestrian circulation, for all who wish to visit campus. Enrollment capacities are established by the Regents and UC Office of the President.

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I never take the bus, so why should I support this?

Everybody benefits when there's a good transit system in place. Fewer people bring their cars to campus, which means there's adequate parking for those who do. There's less stress in general because people can get where they need to go with shorter waits. It also makes it easier for those who drive to campus to get around once they get here.

UCSC is a nationally ranked campus for sustainability. Students take action everyday to travel to and around campus with sustainable transportation options. Thus, UCSC continues to strive for a means of travel that does not involve single occupancy cars. Campus buses provide over 2 million rides per year. Every student, no matter their socio-economic status, is affected by the availability of efficient METRO and Campus Transit service.

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I'm a senior, so why should I vote when it won't affect me?

If you were a student here before Fall 2017, you might remember what it was like when there was more robust bus service. You could catch a bus without leaving an hour early and pass-bys were rare. You can help bring that back to the UCSC experience. Being able to take a shuttle to get across campus, or a METRO to get downtown, is an integral part of what it means to be a Slug. Mass transit helps the campus meet it’s sustainability and carbon neutral goals by getting cars off of the road.

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If this Measure fails, will there be another next year?

No, TAPS does not anticipate seeking another fee measure in 2020.

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