Proposal Deadline: 5:00 p.m. November 1, 2022

Pre-Proposal Conference: October 11, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.

Location: Virtual (Zoom link to be provided) Attendance is not mandatory but strongly encouraged

Formal Questions accepted until October 18, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. Download RFP documents and submit proposals at:


The Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (“Santa Cruz METRO” or “METRO”) is the sole public transit operator in Santa Cruz County, and operates its transit services through four (4) transit centers located at: Pacific Station in downtown Santa Cruz, 920 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060; Watsonville Transit Center, 475 Rodriguez Street, Watsonville, CA 95076; Bart Cavallero Transit Center, 246 Kings Village Drive, Scotts Valley, CA 95066; and Capitola Mall, 1855 41st Avenue, Capitola, CA 95010. 

It has a fleet of 96 buses and operates 24 routes. Santa Cruz METRO also provides paratransit services utilizing a fleet of shuttles and mini-vans. Santa Cruz METRO’s service area is the entire county, an area of 441 square miles, with a population of 274,255 (according to the 2018 United States Census). Santa Cruz METRO was formed in 1968 and is a local public agency.

As a recipient of Federal Transit Administration funding, Santa Cruz METRO is required to include certain clauses in its procurements, which the selected Consultant is required to follow. Santa Cruz METRO is requesting proposals from qualified firms to undertake the following activities related to Santa Cruz METRO General Marketing Services. The term of the Contract will be for a period of three (3) years with

two (2) one-year options for renewal and shall commence upon the signing of the Contract by Santa Cruz METRO.


General Marketing Program The general marketing program is designed to create and increase awareness of Santa Cruz METRO’s brand identity, emerging culture, and services.

The successful Proposer will support Santa Cruz METRO’s development of a strategic marketing plan based on Santa Cruz METRO’s goals and objectives, which are to increase transit services and ridership, the transition of METRO bus fleet to zero emission vehicles, and to support and create housing opportunities on high quality transit routes.

The successful Proposer will work with Santa Cruz METRO’s Marketing Team to expand creative concepts and design content to target markets identified through research and data analysis. The successful Proposer will make recommendations and define methods for communicating and advertising to those target markets.

Advertising media may include, but is not limited to streaming and digital media, signage, newspapers, direct mail, banners, and billboards. Specific marketing campaigns will be developed to keep the brand fresh and responsive. It should be noted that the Santa Cruz METRO Executive Team is not afraid to think out of the box, and disfavors traditional public transit marketing and planning.

It can be said that Santa Cruz METRO is looking to “break the mold” and has a goal to be the California Transit Association’s and the American Public Transit Association’s Transit Agency of the Year within the next five years. Santa Cruz METRO is looking for a qualified firm with the track record and right team to partner with the transit agency in obtaining these ambitions.

The successful Proposer will be required to performed general marketing services including, but not limited to, the following:

2 a. Creation of METRO Strategic Marketing Plan.

b. Creation of METRO brand and brand standards guide.

c. Creation of photography and videography inventory.

d. Customer demographics research to target increased ridership.

e. Development and implementation of special projects designed to enhance the brand and culture, and to meet agency goals and objectives.

f. Website redesign and ongoing development to ensure quality.

g. Social media support, including development and/or edit creative and technical content for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and other opportunities.

h. Development and support in transitioning METRO’s quarterly route publication, Headways, to a transit focused lifestyle magazine with contributing editors available online and in print.

i. Creation of Customer Loyalty Program and app (App Store & Google Play) development.

j. Creation and placement of ads and marketing materials. This task would entail providing media plans with buy detail, including placement dates, demographic analysis, circulation/readership figures, proposed added value, etc. It would also include seeking out and identifying media opportunities such as promotions and other editorial opportunities.

Finally, it would include proof-reading and monitoring ads for run verification, media production services, managing the media production process, managing talent, photography, and music contracts and licenses, and advising on content and design of media material and assisting in selecting appropriate media types for advertising.

k. Map design for easy to use customer educational materials (schedules, fliers, website, notices, etc.) l. Provide services consistent with Title VI regulations governed by the Federal Transit Administration (as set forth in METRO’s Title VI Policy), including responsibility for obtaining translation of materials as required by said Policy. m. Assistance with materials for community workshops, special events and presentations. The successful Proposer will be responsible for providing quarterly updates, attending regular meetings, and/or establishing milestone dates for projects. Additionally, the successful Proposer will develop methods for evaluating and measuring marketing effectiveness and performance, providing art and creative direction for custom photography and video production, and becoming familiar with the Santa Cruz METRO area and services.

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