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A first for Unitrans: Regular Sunday service

By Dave Jones on July 29, 2010 in University

Unitrans launches its new schedule Aug. 2 with big news: regular service on Sundays for the first time in the history of the campus-city bus system.

The 2010-11 schedule also shows increased frequency on the A line — at least every half-hour all year long, even during summer and other breaks, and finals — with stops at the Silo, downtown and the Amtrak depot.

Fares will remain the same: $1 per ride, $6 for a 10-ride ticket, $25 for a monthly pass. UC Davis undergraduates, whose fees help pay for Unitrans, are allowed unlimited access simply by showing their registration cards.

Another way to ride at no charge is by showing a UC Davis parking permit, provided it is for A, C, CP, L, M or V parking.
UC Davis affiliates without parking permits are eligible for Unitrans discounts through the campus’s alternative transportation program, the goClub.

Unitrans offers free rides for people age 60 and up (with a Senior Pass), people with disabilities (with a Disabled Pass) and Medicare card holders.

Unitrans is coming off a year of record ridership: surpassing 3.5 million for the first time, said Anthony Palmere, assistant general manager. The ridership count translates to more than 20,000 riders on a typical weekday when UC Davis is in session, he said.

Hourly buses Saturday and Sunday

Palmere said Sunday service, starting Aug. 8, will be the same as Saturday’s: hourly buses from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the P, Q, J, W and O lines.

Saturday ridership averages about 1,000 a day when UC Davis is in session, according to Palmere, and surveys indicate there is just as much demand or more for Sunday service.

A 2007 ASUCD referendum, in which students approved an additional $6 quarterly assessment for Unitrans, provided the money for regular bus service on Sundays — but Unitrans did not have sufficient staffing for such service.

In the interim, Unitrans started UniRide in January 2008, offering Sunday service from one bus stop to any other, for people who called ahead.

Now, with sufficient staffing, Unitrans is ready to launch regular Sunday service — and do away with UniRide.

“We are already hearing many positive comments about regular Sunday service being long overdue,” Palmere said.

More frequency on the A line

The A-line upgrades also are a result of increased demand, as development along this route makes it comparable to other Unitrans lines with higher frequency, Palmere said.

The A line runs east-west between the Silo Terminal and El Cemonte Avenue near Pioneer Park, just east of Mace Boulevard in south Davis.

Starting at the Silo, A-line buses run through downtown along Second Street, stop at the Amtrak depot, and continue on to Fifth Street, Alhambra Drive and Mace, then return along the same route.

Under the new schedule, regular service on the A line stays the same when UC Davis is in session— every half hour. But Unitrans is adding the A-Limited line (during regular service only), boosting frequency to four buses per hour between the Silo and Cantrill Drive, which intersects with Fifth Street near the site of Davis police headquarters.

Also, Unitrans announced that, starting Aug. 2, it will provide half-hour service along the entire A line all year long — in other words, there will be no cutback to hourly service during summer and other breaks, and finals.

Palmere said the A line has gained ridership from apartment development (Eleanor Roosevelt Circle, University Village, Windmere and Seville), and the Target store as well. The Target store is a short walk from the A-line stop at Alhambra and Arroyo drives.

Another factor behind the A-line upgrades: The city of Davis received grant funding for enhanced bus service for people coming to Davis or leaving via Amtrak. Part of the funding went to the purchase of an additional Unitrans bus for more frequent service to and from the Amtrak depot.

Running four buses per hour during regular service on the A line’s inner portion, Palmere said, “will make it very easy for train riders and people who want to travel between the campus and downtown for shopping or lunch.”

With the A-Limited line’s launch, Unitrans will be running 37 buses on 17 routes on a regular-service day.

Other changes for 2010-11

The 2010-11 schedule also includes these changes:

O line — Unitrans launched this line in January 2008 as the Shoppers Shuttle, running only on Saturdays. Now, it will run on Sundays, too.

The O line stops in the vicinity of all UC Davis residence halls (including the Tercero area, site of a new stop in 2010-11), and provides service to these major shopping areas: downtown, University Mall and the Target store.

Aggie Stadium is another new stop on the O line in 2010-11.

H, L and P lines — Minor changes in timing.

Amtrak Shuttle — With the addition of regular bus service until 5 p.m. Sundays, Unitrans is discontinuing the 3:45 and 5:10 p.m. Amtrak Shuttles on Sundays. That will leave three Amtrak Shuttles, departing the train station at approximately 6:10, 7:15 and 8:45 p.m., taking passengers anywhere in the city of Davis.

New schedules

The 2010-11 schedules are available in print on all buses and at the Silo and Memorial Union terminals, and are due to mailed to all residents in September. Unitrans’ summer service remains in effect through Sept. 22.

The new schedule and maps also will be available online.

One other scheduling note: Unitrans announced that detours will be in place Aug. 2 for the A, E, L and M lines in and around downtown, due to a house moving project on Third Street. A map of the detours is available online (look under News and Updates).

New buses (and old ones, too)

Unitrans has two brand-new double-deckers to go with four vintage doubledeckers from London. Read more.




Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,