Open Houses on Intercampus Transit Options

Two people walk through a crosswalk as an electric bus drives by.
The electric buses that will travel between Davis and Sacramento are built by Proterra, a company based in the Bay Area. (Cody Kitaura/UC Davis)

Yolobus and Sacramento Regional Transit, in cooperation with UC Davis, will launch expanded public transit — all electric — across the Yolo Causeway in April, replacing the university-run shuttle between the Sacramento and Davis campuses.

Route and schedule details for the new Causeway Connection are still being worked out, and UC Davis and its transit partners are asking riders and potential riders for their input. “Hopefully (we can) make the new service your preferred cross-causeway transportation option,” Vice Chancellor Kelly Ratliff of Finance, Operations and Administration said in a letter dated Monday (Nov. 4), sent by email to shuttle riders and posted here.

The university invites comments during four open houses this week, to be held as follows:

Transit planners will present information, take questions and listen to concerns, Ratliff said. “Please attend one of these open houses to hear some of the ideas for future service options, and then share your thoughts,” she said in her letter. People who are unable to attend are welcome to share their comments via this online form

This will be the second set of workshops, following others held in October. In addition, transit planners conducted onboard surveys last year to assemble basic rider profiles, and riders conducted a thorough survey of interests and preferences in the summer of 2019. 

Causeway Connection begins April 6

The UC Davis intercampus shuttle (conventional buses run by a charter company) will make its last runs Friday, April 3, Ratliff said. The Causeway Connection will begin Monday, April 6, using new electric buses — a zero-emission, open-to-the-public alternative to a shuttle that serves only UC Davis affiliates and costs $585,000 a year.

“A few years ago, we began seeking options to better serve our current riders while also serving more people, because using charter buses for UC Davis affiliates alone was not sustainable,” said Matt Dulcich, director of city, regional and environmental planning. “We found a way to use our funds instead to partner with Sacramento RT and Yolobus to offer more buses, more frequent service, public access and the potential for more points of access.”

The first thing the partnership did was secure funding from Electrify America to purchase the new buses.

More choice

UC Davis is endeavoring to give employees the same or better service than they have now, by working with Yolobus and Sacramento RT to develop an express, nonstop route during peak hours. “We are also looking at running buses every 20 to 30 minutes during high-level commute times, at least one of which will be direct between campuses,” Dulcich said. “This will give commuters more choice as to when to leave from home and arrive at work.”

During nonpeak, daytime hours, the Causeway Connection will include extra stops — adding less than 15 minutes per trip while extending service beyond the UC Davis community.

Dulcich acknowledged the new buses have fewer seats (33 as opposed to 56 in the charter buses), but because there are more buses in the fleet and they will run more frequently at peak times, “we anticipate being able to accommodate current riders as well as new ones.”

The new buses have rack space for three bicycles, or a total of six to nine hourly when two or three buses are running per hour. Passengers will be allowed to board with their folding bicycles, and, Dulcich said, “We are seeking options to expand the capacity for bus bike racks. If we find a viable option, we will seek ways to retrofit the buses.”

Dulcich said employees also will be able to store their bicycles in locked cages on the Davis and Sacramento campuses. 

Passengers who qualify will be able to use the Yolobus or Sac RT paratransit services, or the TAPS Mobility Assistance Shuttle.

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