What is Unitrans?
A Brief History: Unitrans was founded in 1968 as the University Transport System, when the Associated Students of UC Davis purchased two vintage London double decker buses to operate on two routes. In 1972, Unitrans was opened to the general public, with partial funding from the City of Davis. Since that time the ASUCD/City of Davis partnership has continued, and now Unitrans provides public transportation service to the entire city with 48 buses on 20 routes, carrying over 3.9 million passengers/year (over 22,000 on a typical day). For more historical information, please see the “Unitrans at 40” online exhibit from the Special Collections at Shields Library. More detailed information regarding current statistics can be found in the most recent General Manager’s Annual Report and the City of Davis Short-Range Transit Plan. A map showing the number of riders boarding at each stop on a typical day is posted here.
Each day, Davis residents ride buses to get to destinations throughout the City. Many riders are students going to/from UCD, but the system is also used extensively for trips to places such as downtown, junior and senior high schools, library, hospital, neighborhood shopping centers, medical offices, senior center, theaters, and the Farmers’ Market. Buses serve these locations every weekday from 7am-11pm, and the weekend from 9am-6pm. Buses run more frequently during the UCD academic year when ridership is higher, and less frequently during the summer and breaks. You can pick up a printed schedule at most public buildings or use this website to get more details. The printed schedule and website include a calendar showing the type of service running each day of the year, or just call 752-2877 (BUSS) to check.
Anyone can ride Unitrans for one dollar cash fare, and many types of prepaid discounted tickets and passes are available. One special fare category includes UCD Undergraduate students, who can show a valid undergrad ID instead of a cash fare, because they pay a portion of their quarterly ASUCD fee to Unitrans. Seniors (60+) may also ride free with an ID card available from the Senior Center. More information on fares and passes is available on the “Fares” page or by calling 752-2877. One line, the V line, is an intra-campus route which is free to all riders.
Buses: Unitrans is well-known for our fleet of historic London doubledecker buses, which in 2010 were joined by two modern doubledecker buses. The doubledeck buses run on six lines (B, E, F, G, J, V) in regular service during the academic year, and their times are noted on the printed schedule. One of the doubledecks has been converted from a diesel engine to run on clean natural gas. Unitrans’ CNG doubledeck is unique in North America, and perhaps in the world. Although the doubledeck bus is the symbol of Unitrans, most of our service is provided by modern buses fueled by CNG.
Drivers: All Unitrans drivers and supervisors, as well as most support staff, are UC Davis students working part-time. Our drivers undergo extensive training and testing prior to going into service. Unitrans safety record is among the best among public transit systems in the U.S. All of our employees pride themselves on providing safe and friendly service.
Other Services: Unitrans connects with several transit systems and links to their web sites are provided on the “Special Service” page. YoloBus provides service to Sacramento, Woodland, the Sacramento Airport, as well as within Davis and throughout Yolo County. YoloBus connects with Unitrans at the Memorial Union and at many common stop locations throughout Davis. Davis Community Transit provides demand responsive service within Davis, including ADA complementary paratransit service. Unitrans also connects with Amtrak/Capitol Corridor trains in downtown Davis, and a special shuttle operates on Sundays evenings when regular Unitrans service does not run. Other inter-city services available on the UCD campus include Fairfield and Suisun Transit, the UCD Med Center Shuttle, and the UC Berkeley Shuttle.