Updated 10:20 p.m. April 1: The coronavirus pandemic has put the brakes on the Causeway Connection’s debut, which had been scheduled for Monday (April 6). Officials attributed the Causeway Connection’s delay to Yolo County’s decision to extend its shelter-in-place order until May 1, and related requirements discouraging nonessential travel amid the outbreak.
“UC Davis is committed to ensuring UC Davis affiliates have access to reliable, affordable and regular transportation between our campuses, so we're extending the Intercampus Shuttle Service through All West [bus company] until the Causeway Connection can get the official launch it deserves,” according to a statement on the Causeway Connection website.
Despite the delay, UC Davis affiliates will still benefit from a no-fare deal that was supposed to start with the Causeway Connection’s launch. They’ll still ride for free — but on the existing shuttle.
“We apologize for the last-minute change, but with ridership between the Davis Campus and UC Davis Health as low as 25 trips a day, we hope you agree this slight delay is a reasonable approach,” officials said.
The intercampus shuttle will make its last runs this Friday (April 3), to be replaced Monday (April 6) by the new all-electric Causeway Connection bus service — with no charge for UC Davis affiliates for the first six months.
According to UC Davis Transportation Services, the Causeway Connection will debut with full service — that is, with no reductions prompted by the coronavirus outbreak.
At least that’s the plan at this time. Sacramento Regional Transit and Yolobus, which will run the Causeway Connection as Route 138, may yet make changes based on COVID-19 mitigation guidance, as well as anticipated driver shortages in the coming weeks.
One thing that will not change: strict protocols by both agencies to keep the buses disinfected.
The first bus brand-new electric bus is scheduled to hit the road at 5:30 a.m., departing UC Davis Health. Departure time for the first eastbound bus is 6:07 a.m. from the Genome and Biomedical Sciences Facility in the Health Sciences District (with additional pickups at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and Mace Boulevard).
The schedule features multiple nonstop and express trips between UC Davis and UC Davis Health during peak commute hours, and hourly direct trips during midday hours — for a total of 52 trips daily between the campuses.
If SacRT and Yolobus move to reduce service due to COVID-19 mitigation, UC Davis is asking them to start by cutting a single trip (out of three) each peak-commute hour.
The SacRT and Yolobus websites will be the best resource for schedule updates, but Transportation Services on the Davis campus and Parking and Transportation Services on the Sacramento campus will make every attempt to notify riders in advance of changes.
The UC Davis-operated intercampus shuttle has already been asking riders to practice social distancing, by sitting at least one row away from other people — and the same guidance will apply to the Causeway Connection.
In addition, Yolobus and SacRT will use disinfectant to clean the Causeway Connection buses the same way the transit agencies are cleaning their other buses and light rail cars.
According to Yolobus, its contractor, Transdev, uses disinfectant at least once daily to clean all major “touch” surfaces, including doors, stanchions, straps and fareboxes. At SacRT, employees use disinfectant each night to wipe all frequently touched surfaces, while also fogging buses and train cars with chlorine dioxide for a deep clean.
SacRT asks customers to use its ZipPass mobile fare app or Connect Cards, when possible, to keep the exchange of cash to a minimum. No one at UC Davis needs to worry about that for the first six months; after that, fares will kick in for everyone but UC Davis undergraduates. See fare information here.