metro bus mural santa cruz
A large mural of a photograph by Frans Lanting adorns the side of a Santa Cruz METRO bus as part of a new, One Ride at a Time program to help heighten awareness of the natural scheme of the Monterey Bay. Photo: Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—A new campaign to showcase the environmental benefits of transit, encourage bus ridership and protect Santa Cruz County’s natural resources, kicked off recently in Santa Cruz. 

“One Ride at a Time” launched a pair of METRO’s buses that are emblazoned with massive photograph murals by renowned photographer Frans Lanting, said Danielle Glagola, METRO spokesperson. The buses were staged outside the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History that is currently featuring the Bay of Life photo exhibit by Lanting and Chris Eckstrom, a photographer-writer team.

Starting in January, every ride on a METRO bus donates to organizations that work to protect the environment: the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the Bay of Life Fund.

One Ride at a Time is made possible by partnerships between METRO, Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC), Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Bay of Life Fund, and Lanting and Eckstrom.

“METRO is committed to our zero emissions plan and from 2023 on out we’re committed to only purchasing zero emissions buses, whether it be hydrogen or electric,” Glagola said.

To promote the campaign, METRO will release pairs of buses wrapped with Lanting’s iconic images of the Monterey Bay from Bay of Life: From Wind to Whales. By the end of 2024, about 30 wrapped buses will be traveling throughout Santa Cruz County and featuring images of whales, sea otters, mountain lions, redwoods and more.

“This is about people and nature,” Lanting said. “We wanted to bring together the two halves of the Monterey Bay, land and sea: This is the reason the Monterey Bay is what it is and it is people and nature we want to connect; it’s not just nature by itself. A million people live here in Monterey Bay. We tell the story of the degradation of the natural environment during the era of industrial exploitation. It’s a sobering lesson that happened in the period of two generations. And the miraculous thing is that nature has bounced back because people have been working at it and that’s the big takeaway, that we can turn things around. As far as we know, this (METRO bus murals) hasn’t been done before, in the context of this campaign.”

For information, visit

The “Bay of Life: From Wind to Whales” exhibit runs through April 30 at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, 705 Front St. Santa Cruz. For information, call 429.1964.

santa cruz metro bus east beach street
A Santa Cruz METRO bus swings onto East Beach Street in Watsonville with a new mural photograph of a humpback whale. Photo: Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian
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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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