Unitrans is proposing its first fare increase in 14 years and service changes focused on efficiency and streamlining the schedule during lower demand times of day.
Jeff Flynn, general manager, attributed the proposals to current and projected budget deficits in the face of rising expenses — most notably, the California minimum wage is going up in annual increments over four years. The bus system is looking at further cost reductions as well as new revenue sources.
The proposed service changes also include cost-neutral modifications to provide more direct service on schooldays between North and West Davis neighborhoods, and Holmes Junior High School and Davis High School.
Unitrans, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, carries more than 4 million passengers annually around the campus and city — operating 49 buses (including vintage double-deckers from London) on 18 routes. The Associated Students of the University of California, Davis, runs Unitrans in partnership with the city.
Davis Community Transit, a city-run service for qualifying disabled residents, is pursuing its own fare increase and has joined with Unitrans to hold open houses and a public hearing on all the proposals.
Under the Unitrans fare proposal, the cost for a single ride would go up 25 cents to $1.25. (For comparison, Yolobus charges $2.25 for adults and Sacramento Regional Transit charges $2.75.)
Unitrans’ other fare proposals:
- 10-ride ticket — $7.50 (from $6)
- Monthly pass — $30 (from $25)
- Quarterly pass — $77 (from $64)
- Annual pass — Two-stage increase, first to $198 (from $180) on July 1, 2018, and to $216 in July 2019.
In addition, Unitrans would implement fares on two lines that are now free to everyone: the V Line, running between the central UC Davis campus and UC Davis West Village; and the X Line, serving the university’s residence halls on weekends.
None of the Unitrans fare proposals would affect UC Davis undergraduates. They pay for their rides through a Unitrans fee assessed each quarter, and have voted to raise that fee twice over the last 12 years.
There are no proposed changes to Unitrans’ free fares for UC Davis parking permit holders, International English and Professional Programs participants (UC Davis Extension), city of Davis employees, senior citizens (ages 60 and up), disabled passengers and Medicare recipients; and passengers who have passes, transfers or tickets from other area transit systems. See the Unitrans fares page for requirements and restrictions.
Unitrans service change proposals
- B, C and K lines — Discontinue the C Line and reroute the B Line to serve Wake Forest Drive and UC Davis’ Cuarto Residence Area. Service would continue on a 30-minute frequency. Because the C Line operates later than the B Line and the K Line, which operates on Russell Boulevard, Unitrans would extend service to 9:30 p.m. on the B Line and 9 p.m. on the K Line.
- D, G, J, W and V lines — Reduce midday service on weekdays from 15-minute frequency to 30 minutes, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., due to lower customer demand.
- School lines — Modify the T Line to serve the Wildhorse and Slide Hill Park neighborhoods (North Davis off East Covell Boulevard), and provide more direct connections to Holmes Junior High School via J Street. Establish a new line serving the neighborhoods in the vicinity of West Davis’ Shasta Drive and North Davis via Anderson Drive, to provide more direct access between those neighborhoods and Davis High School and Holmes Junior High School. These lines would operate one trip in the morning and one trip in the afternoon on Davis Joint Unified School District schooldays only.
- Amtrak Sunday evening shuttle — Discontinue this on-demand shuttle, due to very low use.
Unitrans welcomes comments by email or phone, 530-752-2877, or in person as follows:
- Open house — 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, April 9, Davis Senior Center, 646 A St.
- Open house — 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, Garrison Room, second floor of the Memorial Union
- Public hearing — 4-6 p.m. Thursday, April 19, Council Chamber, Davis City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.