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Can I ride Unitrans & Yolobus for free?

All UC Davis undergraduates pay for Unitrans & Yolobus in their undergraduate registration fees. By showing a Unitrans or Yolobus driver your valid undergrad registration card, you may ride without paying the cash fare. Other riders can also ride without paying a fare by buying a pass for unlimited rides or getting a Senior Pass. Discounted 10-ride tickets are also offered, and are particularly valuable for occasional riders.

I forgot my registration card at home, can I still ride without paying?

Without a valid pass or registration card, a passenger must pay the full cash fare.

Why is my bus sometimes late?

Unitrans makes every effort to stay on schedule. However, we are not able to guarantee that service disruptions or schedule changes will not occur due to uncontrollable circumstances such as accidents, road conditions, unexpected high passenger loads, or weather. We attempt to deploy additional tripper buses whenever routes get behind or the passenger loads are unexpectedly high. We also provide real-time information with predicted bus arrival times (via NextBus), and that information is available at all times via phone (752-2877 or 530-204-5529) and text, in addition to our web page.

Is there a mobile app for getting real-time bus information?

Yes, there are several mobile apps that use publicly-available real-time data for Unitrans bus locations.  Unitrans real-time data is powered by NextBus, and apps for iPhone and Android, as well as other means of mobile access can be found at http://nextbus.cubic.com/Mobile-Access.  The NextBus apps include updated alerts for lines and bus stops, which may be important in getting correct information.

Many of our riders use the “Bus” information from the UC Davis Mobile App.  That app generally provides updated and complete information for the bus system (including alerts), but it is not under Unitrans control.   This is an excellent app for many purposes, but we also encourage use of the actual NextBus app for the most complete and accurate information.

If you use another app to access Unitrans data, please check on whether the app is using the most up-to-date Unitrans schedule and also provides alerts.

I am running to catch the bus, but the driver closes the door and drives away.  Why doesn’t the driver stop to let me on the bus?

When the driver is getting ready to leave, he/she is looking around to ensure that it is safe to pull the bus out into the traffic lane.  Consequently, it is likely that the driver may not see you coming before pulling out of the stop.  Once the driver pulls away from the stop, it is generally no longer safe to allow a passenger to board a bus.  Unitrans places the safety of its customers and employees as the number one priority, and drivers will not take any action that would potentially put someone’s safety in jeopardy.

How do I get from Davis to Sacramento or Woodland?

Yolobus route 42 goes to Sacramento, West Sacramento, and Woodland. Go to www.yolobus.com or call 666-2877 for more information. UCD undergraduate students ride Yolobus for free by showing the driver their registration card.

How do I get to Berkeley or the Bay Area from Davis?

The UC Davis Berkeley Shuttle can take UCD affiliates from Davis to Berkeley. Call 752-UBUS or the shuttle web page for details. If you need to get elsewhere in the Bay Area or anywhere in California, try Amtrak. Their station is located on Second St. at H St. (on the Unitrans A-line bus). Go to www.amtrak.com, or the Capitol Corridor or call 1-800-USA-RAIL for information.

What is the story behind the double deck buses running in Davis?

Unitrans sumbol is the London double deck bus. Two of these buses were purchased back in 1968 direct from London to attract people to use the service. Unitrans is the only transit company in the United States to use authentic London double deck buses in daily service. The vintage buses were joined in 2010 by two modern doubledeckers For more information, see the About Unitrans section of our web page.

How can I ride a double deck bus?

The vintage double deck buses run hourly on the E & F lines and occasionally on the G line. Check the printed schedule (or online pdfs) and where you see a DD symbol above the run, that is when a vintage double deck bus may be in service.  The modern doubledecker buses run on the J and V lines on the runs that leave/arrive on the hour and half-hour.  The Live Map shows the location of doubledecker buses in real time. Double deck buses only run during regular service and not during breaks or summer.

Why do I still see diesel buses being run by Unitrans?

Unitrans has converted all of its single-deck fleet to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), but most of the doubledeck buses are fueled by bio-diesel. Double deck bus RT2819 has been converted from diesel to CNG, and all the other doubledecks use very clean diesel engines either as original equipment (modern doubledecker buses) or as conversions (vintage doubledecker buses).

Where can I buy a pass?

Unitrans passes are available at Davis City Hall (Community Services office, 600 A Street, Suite C), Davis High School (10 Ride Tickets & Monthly passes only), Harper Junior High School (10 Ride Tickets only), Holmes Junior High School (10 Ride Tickets only), Transportation & Parking Services on UCD Campus, and Unitrans Business Office at 5 South Hall on UCD Campus. You can also call 752-BUSS (2877) and order a pass over the phone with a credit card.  Please note that fares are subject to change and are not refundable.

Is it possible for UC Davis employees and grad students to purchase passes at a lower cost?

UC Davis offers a further discount to staff, faculty, and graduate students to encourage the use of alternative transportation to the campus. UCD affiliates who do not purchase a parking permit are eligible to purchase passes and tickets through UCD Transportation & Parking Services (TAPS) at a 40 percent discount from the already discounted pass/ticket prices.  TAPS is located near Hutchinson Drive, between the West Entry Parking Structure and the Acitivities and Recreation Center (ARC). Call 752-TAPS (8277) or visit goBus for more information.

I am a UC Davis graduate student. Why do I not ride for free?

Graduate students do not pay for Unitrans in their registration fees like undergrads do.

What is the Tipsy Taxi phone number and who can ride?

Tipsy Taxi is run by Specialized Transportation Services, which is an independent unit of ASUCD.  Tipsy Taxi can only provide rides to undergraduate students.  Service runs on Thursday through Saturday nights during the regular school year. Their phone number is 752-6666 and web page is tipsytaxi.ucdavis.edu.

I have a Woodland or Los Rios Student Access card. Can I ride Unitrans for free?

Unitrans does not accept Woodland Community College or Los Rios Community College student access cards for valid fare. Only UC Davis undergrad students pay registration fees that enable fare-free Unitrans and Yolobus service.

Where can I get a Unitrans Senior Pass?

Unitrans senior passes are available to passengers 60 years and older at the Senior Center at A St. & 7th St., the University Retirement Community at Shasta Drive and Covell Blvd, at Eleanor Roosevelt Circle on Cantrill at 5th Street, and at the Unitrans Business Office at 5 South Hall on the UCD campus.

I have a Yolobus / Sacramento Regional Transit pass. Can I use it on Unitrans?

Unitrans accepts printed Yolobus and Sacramento Regional Transit (Sac RT) passes and transfers. Unitrans also accepts Amtrak and Fairfield/Suisun Transit passes and transfers as valid fare.  However, electronic-only media such as Yolobus stored value cards and Sacramento Connect Card cannot be used on Unitrans as valid fare.  That is because they cannot be verified by the bus driver.  If you are using a Connect Card on Yolobus and wish to transfer to Unitrans, please request a printed transfer from the Yolobus driver, and then use that as your fare when boarding Unitrans.

Driving buses looks fun! How can I get a job at Unitrans?

Unitrans is a student-operated system and part-time jobs are available to any UC Davis undergraduate, including drivers, mechanics, and office staff. We are always looking for new people! You can see our job listings and get an application at the ASUCD Job Board on the third floor of the Memorial Union building or go to www.unitrans.com/jobs.

Are the S and T lines just for junior and senior high students?

The S and T lines are sometimes considered to be similar to school buses, but they are actually public transit buses open to all riders. The routes and times are designed to supplement the regular lines that may not offer as convenient service to the Davis secondary schools. Because the focus of the S and T lines is on the secondary schools, the daily times change based on the school schedules. These times are published on the Unitrans web page and in our printed schedules so that any rider can use these services like any other Unitrans bus line. For more information about Federal Trasnit Administration regulations regarding provision of school service, click here.

What happens if I leave something on the bus?

The Lost and Found policy at Unitrans has recently changed to be consistent with the UC Davis campuswide procedures. High value items (such as cell phones, wallets,  purses, and Aggie ID cards) are turned in to the UC Davis Police Department (the day after they are found on the bus).

Click here for details or to search for an item.

All other items (such as books, keys, umbrellas, jackets, mugs) are brought to the Unitrans office at 5 South Hall (the day after they are found on the bus). Because of space limitations, they are only kept in the main office for a week.

If an item is left on a bus, passengers are allowed to search the bus for their lost item. It is against Unitrans policy to ask drivers over the radio to search a bus for a lost item as it may jeopardize the security of the item.

Although we will do our best to help you find a lost item, Unitrans is not responsible for any items left on a bus.  Please note that there are different buses with different drivers on each line throughout the day, and it may not be possible for us to track it down until it is turned in the next day.  Please try to be extra careful to check that you have all your personal items with you prior to leaving the bus.

Buses are often really crowded, especially at peak times.  Is there a legal limit on how many people can be on a bus? 

Unitrans follows all of the rules and regulations that apply to the provision of public transportation services in order to maintain the safety of our passengers. On behalf of the City of Davis, Unitrans provides a regularly scheduled, fixed-route passenger bus service throughout the City and is subject to the rules that apply to urban transit services, not those that apply to school bus services.  The full text of the regulation is included at the end of this answer.

Given the high demand for Unitrans service, especially at peak times, as well as budget constraints that limit our ability to fund more buses and more bus drivers, there is no question that some buses are very crowded.  Our goal is to safely transport as many passengers as possible to their destinations and we do not want to leave riders behind.  Although this may be uncomfortable at times, it is not unsafe.  If a passenger feels that a bus is too crowded, he/she may decline to board the bus and take another bus instead.  When the driver sees that the bus is completely full and can carry no additional customers behind the white safety line, the driver will inform customers waiting at bus stops that he/she cannot take additional passengers.  Unitrans will make all attempts to send out a “tripper” bus (if both a bus and a bus driver are available) to pick up those customers.  Note also that Unitrans monitors ridership data on all runs and provides statistics on bus crowding as part of its ongoing reporting program.

The specific rule for the transportation of passengers on regularly scheduled transit service comes from the California Code of Regulations, Title 13, Section 1217(e), which reads as follows:

“(e) Standing Passengers. A vehicle shall not be put in motion until all passengers are seated, and all passengers must remain seated while the vehicle is in motion. Standing passengers are permitted only on a bus (except a school bus, SPAB, or youth bus) operated in regularly scheduled passenger stage service or urban and suburban service by a common carrier or publicly-owned transit system, and equipped with grab handles or other means of support for standing passengers, and constructed so that standing room in the aisle is at least 74 in. high.” (emphasis added)

What if I have a group that is traveling on the bus, such as a school field trip?

If you are traveling in a group, we suggest buying 10-ride tickets in advance. This will both save money and speed the boarding process. Just be sure to have purchased enough rides to cover all the passengers in both directions (for example, a group of 20 people would need four 10-ride tickets [=40 rides] to accommodate 20 passengers going and 20 passengers returning). Also, if a large group is traveling, you may want to check with Unitrans information (752-2877) to see if the bus is likely to have enough room to carry everyone. If not, you may want to split the group up, with some either riding an earlier time or a nearby line. Unfortunately, virtually all Unitrans buses are in service throughout the day, and it is usually not possible to add an extra bus for group trips.

Why are there no bike racks on Unitrans buses, like other transit systems?

This seems ironic, since Davis is known for its support of bicycling. However, unlike other larger cities, the entire city of Davis can be easily traversed by bicycle, so most people who might want to use the bus for a portion of their trip can simply cycle the entire distance in Davis. Also, the high use of bikes in Davis makes it more similar to European cities, which typically do not use bike racks (see blog post on this subject).  Note that there may be occasions when transporting your bike is necessary and this is accommodated in two ways. All YoloBus buses have bike racks and these routes cover much of Davis. In addition, bikes are allowed to be carried inside Unitrans buses on the last trip of each day and all day on weekends (except Picnic Day).

Why do the regular lines not run on Friday nights?

While Unitrans is a full public transit system, it is operated by employees who are also full-time students at UC Davis. The number of hours in service each day is quite extensive and places many demands on the time of the student employees. Friday nights have traditionally been periods of low ridership demand, and not offering service at these times provides some rest time for our drivers.

Why don’t more buses serve Downtown Davis?

Unitrans buses are routed to maximize the efficiency of the service.  Because roughly 90% of our riders are destined for the UC Davis campus, the two campus terminals at the MU and Silo are the primary “hubs” for the system.  The bus lines that serve East Davis and South Davis serve downtown directly on their way to or from the UCD campus providing frequent service along 1st St (W and M lines), 2nd St (A line), 3rd St (E line), 5th St  (P and M lines), and B St (L line).  For service from West Davis and North Davis, passengers can make an easy transfer at either terminal to one of these lines.  Sometimes the same bus continues downtown and there is no need to get off the bus.  In other cases, you need to change buses, but the wait is usually less than 5 minutes and is never more than 10 minutes.  Click on your line for a listing of transfer times during Regular Service to and from downtown:  B, C, D, F, G, J, K, P/Q (west), V.

Can I take Unitrans to the Mondavi Center?

No, unfortunately, a line that ran to the Mondavi Center was not well-used and has been eliminated.  The closest bus stops are the Shields/Art Building stops along Hutchison Drive (A, L, W lines). These stops are about 1/3rd-mile from the Mondavi Center. Monday-Thursday service operates until 10:10 p.m. (10:35 on the W-line), Fridays until 8:10 p.m., and weekends (O and W lines) until 6:10 p.m.  Please check the printed schedule or call Unitrans information at 752-BUSS (2877).

Can Unitrans run smaller buses?

Unitrans has exceptionally high ridership for a system of its size, carrying over 20,000 riders per day in our community. This translates to over 50 passengers per bus hour, which is higher than many large urban transit systems. Although not every bus is full for every trip, all carry a full load at various times throughout the day. If the same number of riders were to be carried on smaller buses, there would need to be dozens more buses in operation throughout the day, representing a significant increase in the cost to provide the service as well as more traffic on the streets. Ideally, we could have different size buses for different times of day, but that would also represent a very significant cost increase above current funding levels. Unitrans has several 20-passenger shuttle buses that are used in special services when a full-size bus is not required, but these cannot accommodate the number of passengers who ride the regular lines.

Are pets allowed on Unitrans buses?

Only service animals are allowed on Unitrans buses.  Any other animals brought on board must be fully contained in a carrying device and must not cause any disturbance to other passengers.

Can anyone charter a Unitrans bus?

Specialized Transportation Services charters Unitrans buses to UC Davis and community groups traveling within Davis, but charter service can only be provided under certain federally-mandated conditions. One condition is that the charter must first be offered to any private bus company that may want to bid on it. Also, charters can never be provided for elementary or secondary school functions. Call 752-9835 for more information and see the FTA Charter Registration website for available charter services in our area.

Why is there not a time shown for my bus stop on the Unitrans schedule?

Due to space constraints on the schedule we are not able to include times for every stop on each bus line. As such, only timed bus stops are presented in the schedule. To determine when a bus is scheduled at your nearest bus stop, just look at the time the bus is scheduled at the timed stop located before your stop and be at your stop by that time. This will ensure that you will not miss your bus. If you do want to find out the approximate time the bus stops at your specific stop, try using our on-line services such as Google Transit or NextBus.

How can I find the 3-digit stop number for my bus stop?

The 3-digit stop number provides a way to get automated next bus information 24 hours a day.  The number is located on the bus stop sign to the right of the Unitrans doubledecker logo (under the word “Stop #”).  If you need to look up the stop number online, use the stop time predictor on the Unitrans home page.  When you select a line and a stop, you will see the time predictions.  To the right of that, there is a phone symbol and the stop number for that stop is shown there.  That also shows the direct dial phone number for NextBus information, which is 530-204-5529.  We also have an online listing of the stop numbers for every stop.

How do I file a complaint or a commendation?

If you wish to make a commendation or complaint about our service, please call Unitrans information at 752-BUSS (2877) or send us an email. If your complaint or commendation is about a particular incident, please get as much information as possible and applicable, including the bus line, the four-digit number on the vehicle, the location, the direction of travel, and the time of day.

How does someone make a complaint related to a federal requirement such as Title VI, EEO, ADA, or any other suspected violation of civil rights?

Unitrans, as a recipient of Federal Transit Administration funds, follows all federal non-discrimination policies, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Equal Employment Opportunity.

No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, or disability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

See the Department of Justice website or this brochure for more details, including translations to languages other than English.  To make a complaint about any suspected violation of federal requirements, please contact the Assistant General Manager for Administration directly by email or by calling 530-752-2877.  The AGMA will direct your complaint to the appropriate agency.

What are the current Unitrans / City of Davis goals for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs)?

Unitrans and the City of Davis, as recipients of Federal Transit Administration funds has a three-year goal for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation in federally funded contracts.  The current goal for DBE participation is 2.1%.  The full DBE Program Plan is available here.  Note that a list of certified DBE firms is available from Caltrans, as part of the statewide Unified Certification Program.

How does someone make a request for reasonable accommodations or modifications related to the ADA?

In accordance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), Unitrans will not discriminate against individuals with disabilities in its services, programs, or activities.  Unitrans will make all reasonable modifications to policies and programs to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in all of its programs, services, and activities.  Anyone who requires a modification of policies or procedures to participate in a program, service, or activity of Unitrans, should contact:

Unitrans Assistant General Manager, Administration
1 Shields Avenue
Davis, CA  95616
(530) 752-6525

Note that the ADA does not require Unitrans or any other transit system to take any action that would fundamentally alter the nature of its program or services, or impose an undue financial or administrative burden.  Complaints that a program, service, or activity of Unitrans is not accessible to persons with disabilities should be directed to the AGM for Administration..

Who do I contact for more information?

Our contact information is available online at http://unitrans.ucdavis.edu/about/staff/

What is the meaning of the orange flags that are sometimes held out at the back of the double deck buses?

These reflective, orange flags warn traffic of a stopped or slow-moving vehicle, as an extra precaution. We use these flags whenever a double deck pulls into or out of a stop, navigates around a hazard (such as a double-parked delivery truck) or travels over railroad tracks. When a bus is pulled over at a stop, the conductor extends the flag to indicate that passengers are getting off the bus in order to alert other vehicles of their presence.

What are the rules for mobility assistance devices?

Unitrans bus lifts and ramps comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are able to accommodate a “common wheelchair” as defined in the ADA regulations. A common wheelchair is defined as being not more than 48″ in length or 30″ in width (measured 2? above the ground) and not weighing more than 600 pounds when occupied. If a wheelchair user has one that exceeds these specifications, that individual should contact us for assistance. Securement: All passenger seats must be secured. Passengers seated in a wheelchair or other mobility aid must permit drivers to secure their device to the floor of the bus.

It is very difficult for me to board the bus without the ramp.  Why doesn’t the driver lower the ramp for me?

Unitrans drivers are happy to assist any passenger who needs the ramp to board the bus upon the passenger’s request.  Not all passengers want to have the ramp deployed, and they could be hurt if a driver starts to lower the ramp at the same time that a passenger is attempting to board the bus.  Consequently, drivers are instructed not to assume that any passenger needs the bus ramp, unless the passenger is on a mobility device such as a wheelchair or scooter.  If you need the assistance of the bus ramp to make it easier to board the bus, just ask the driver and he/she will be happy to do so for you.

I sometimes see someone standing very close to the bus driver and talking the entire time I’m on the bus.  It seems that this would be distracting to the driver and unsafe for the passengers on the bus.  Is this allowed while the bus is moving?

Unitrans constantly recruits for and trains new drivers, in both classroom and behind-the-wheel settings.  After the driver is tested and receives his/her Class B drivers license, the driver is allowed to drive the bus with passengers and is accompanied by a Unitrans route trainer to assist the driver in becoming more knowledgeable of Unitrans’ bus routes and on-the-road operating conditions.  The route trainer is positioned close to the driver so that the trainer can help take control of the bus should the need arise.

Please be assured that all Unitrans drivers receive a significant amount of training before being assigned to driver shifts, so the safety of our passengers is always our number one priority.

Are fares not collected at the Silo and MU terminals?

For fairness to all riders, we do expect people to pay their fare even when the bus is not attended.  As a convenience to riders, buses at the terminals are left open even when a driver is not present.  Rather than check fares for some passengers but not all, Unitrans drivers do not check for anyone’s fare at the terminals.  In effect, fares at the MU and Silo terminals are on the honor system.

What is the policy on issuing transfers?

For a passenger paying with cash or a 10-ride ticket, the driver or conductor will issue a transfer if a 2nd bus is needed to complete your one-way trip. Transfers are not intended to be used for round trips, and therefore they are not issued for transfers between G-J, D-K, M-W, and P-Q lines.

Why do some buses go out of service before they get to my stop?

This can happen on the more frequent lines, especially at the times when buses are scheduled 10 minutes apart. If the first bus is late, it may start picking up people expecting to take the next bus. This makes the early bus later and sometimes the following bus catches up to it. At that point, there is no sense having both buses follow each other into the terminal, so the first bus will go out of service to bring those people on the bus to their stops faster (while the second bus picks up at the remaining stops).

Why do buses that are “Out of Service” sometimes show up on the NextBus map and time predictions?

Sometimes when a bus is late and/or crowded, a 2nd bus (called a “tripper” bus) is dispatched to that line.  Often, the extra bus will serve the stops ahead of the regular bus, getting to those stops on time or slightly late.  Because those stops have been served, the regular bus can go out of service, which allows it to bring its passengers to the terminal faster and arrive closer to on time than would be possible if it were to serve all the remaining stops.  Generally, this is an efficient way to serve all the passengers on a line with timely service, but it can lead to confusion when using NextBus.  That is because there will be a period of time when the system will see two buses as being in service on the same run, and it will show predictions for both buses. The use of trippers can also cause a predicted time to change quite suddenly, because the bus that was late is replaced by a bus that is on time.  We recommend that customers remain aware of the scheduled time when arriving at a bus stop and that, if they see two predictions that are close together, they use the schedule time or the earlier prediction to plan their arrival time at the stop.

Why do the bus schedules change during the year depending on the UC Davis calendar?

Although Unitrans buses are used by the entire Davis community, over 90% of the riders are UCD students. With the reduced number of riders during times when UCD is not is session, it is not cost effective (or as environmentally beneficial) for the service to run as frequently. Click here for the calendar showing what type of service is provided each day.

How do I get to Aggie Stadium for football games and other weekend events?

Fans can use Unitrans for travel to and from afternoon football games, as well as service to (but not from) evening games.  Service to Aggie Stadium is provided by the D, O, and V lines, which run hourly on Saturdays.  Click on each line to see the schedule.  The P, Q, and J lines also have stops in the vicinity of Aggie Stadium.  If you use the W-line, just stay on the bus, which will become the D line at the Silo Terminal.  See http://www.unitrans.com/ucdfootball/ for a helpful map.