Below is a collection of personal statements made by some of the current shuttle riders. They are included to show that our requests are rooted in the real needs and desires of the ridership.
I depend on the intercampus shuttle almost exclusively, to travel from my Sacramento home to the Davis campus because I am blind. I also depend on my ability to access the Sacramento campus buses to get from the current shuttle stop to & from the 39th street lightrail station & various medical appointments at the Ambulatory Care Center, the Midtown clinic, & the Cancer Center, the latter for my wife’s appointments when I need to accompany her. In order to insure that I am on time for these appointments, I need to allow 2 hours to get from Davis to Sacramento & the clinics I need to access. Once this change occurs in April, I can only imagine that my travel times from home to & from work, as well as my time to get from Davis to my clinic appointments will likely increase from 50-100%. To minimize the time I need to miss from work, I try, to the greatest extent possible, to schedule clinic appointments for as late in the afternoon as possible, knowing that the clinics are only open from 8AM-5PM, Monday-Friday. When the change in its’ presently proposed format happens, I might as well just take the day off if I need to attend a clinic appointment. My current commute time from home to work is approximately 2 hours because of the number of connections I need to make. I can see my daily commute under the new format taking 3-4 hours. To conpound this problem, RT buses & lightrail trains decrease their frequency after 6:40PM. This means that if/when the bus from the Davis campus to the Med Center gets stuck in traffic & is late, I need to wait longer at the 39th street lightrail station for the Sunrise or Folsome trains, & at the Watt/Manlove station for the 72 bus I need to complete my homeword trip.
As an alternative to public transportation, I have occasionally used a company called Go Go Grandparent, a company that uses Uber & Lyft drivers. Unfortunately, Go Go Grandparent charges by the mile & by the minute, which ends up costing me over $40 per 1-way ride. I use Go Go Grandparent because the Uber & Lyft mobile apps are inaccessible via Google Assistant, to blind cell phone users because we can’t even see the map or pin on the screen, much less move it to our current location. Go Go Grandparent provides that service, but at a very high price.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for the opportunity to share my personal story of how this upcoming money-motivated move will adversely affect my daily commute & regular trips to UC Davis clinic appointments. Just as an aside, I chose the UC Davis Medical Group because of how easy the clinics are to independently access. That won’t be true anymore, once the change happens.
— Russ Zochowski, Disability Specialist, Students with Medical, Mobility, and Visual Disabilities, Student Disability Center
The existence of an express shuttle has made it much more attractive to be (previously) a student and (now) a research staff at UC Davis. Given the housing in Davis is limited and expensive, it should be a no-brainer for UC Davis to continue to support this direct shuttle to a relatively affordable area of Sacramento with abundant housing.
— Derek Young, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Plant Sciences
I think, too, that the shuttle service matters to graduate students who want to live in Sacramento. And that this should matter to UC Davis. Speaking for myself and my family, living in Davis wasn’t really an option (my partner works in Sac; we have day care in Sac) and so the shuttle service is crucial to the graduate student/graduate life experience. For me, it’s made the whole thing possible and I wouldn’t have wanted/been able to buy another car and use that car to travel on the freeways back and forth 3-4 days a week.
— Adam D. Musser, PhD Candidate, Language, Literacy, & Culture, Graduate Student Executive Committee Representative, AERA Division G, Graduate Student Researcher, Transformative Justice in Education Center, School of Education
I recently moved from Davis to Sacramento specifically close to the Med Center for the convenient proximity to the shuttle. I’m a Davis grad student who relies on the shuttle system. I can also add a perspective as a patient. During late spring, I tore ligaments in both of my wrists and had to be casted for 6 weeks simultaneously. I still lived in Davis at the time and often had more than 1 appointment a week for doctor visits, MRIs and cast changes. I heavily relied on the bus during that time and for several weeks after since I couldn’t physically drive for a long time. Many students in Davis are referred to UCDMC for specialty appointments and I’m sure this shuttle service change will impact them as well.
— Lisa Rosenthal, Doctoral Candidate, Ecology, Rizzo Lab
I am a UCDH employee (I live in Davis) and a regular shuttle rider for many years. In response to the counterpoint that we can just take an earlier shuttle to arrive to work on time, this is not feasible for those of us with young children. I use the shuttle to commute from Davis to my job on the Sacramento campus. I need to be to work at 9 am. I currently ride the shuttle that leaves from the genome at 8:13. My oldest child attends a Davis elementary school which starts at 8:30. I have hired a babysitter to walk him to school so I can leave the house to bring my younger child to daycare prior to picking up the bus at 8:13. The daycare opens at 7:30. Even if I got my child to daycare right at 7:30, I am concerned that under the new system I would not be able to make it to the bus stop early enough to catch a bus to get to work by 9 am. I would also have to leave work earlier at the end of the day in order to get back to Davis in time to pick up two kids from two different locations before daycare closes. If the shuttle is replaced by the new bus system, I will be driving every day. Other parents who ride the shuttle are in the same situation as me. I imagine some parents using the shuttle only have one car for the family so their situation is even more challenging than mine (fortunately my husband and I each have a car).
— Marie K. Krug, Ph.D., Assistant Project Scientist, UC Davis MIND Institute
Yolobus already operates a line that provides express service directly between the UC Davis campus and downtown/Midtown Sac: the 43 (which runs a few times from UC Davis through East Davis to Sac in the mornings and returns in the afternoons) and the 43R (which runs once in the morning Sac->Davis and once in the afternoon on the return route). Granted, the price of these rides is higher than the current shuttle and the trips are not very frequent and currently only take place during peak commute times. But I used to take the 43R when I lived in Midtown and it was pricey but great. So if there is so much pent up demand for this route between UC Davis and Downtown/Midtown Sac, it already exists. If Yolobus is a partner in this new shuttle service, why isn’t the 43/43R service being improved/expanded/subsidized to meet this supposed demand, rather than adding stops to the shuttle which will significantly increase travel time and also create a duplicative service? I ride the shuttle from Sac to Davis in the mornings, and our afternoon trips during peak hours (e.g. 4:10 bus and 5:10 bus) often take an hour from Mondavi to the Med Center on the current route.
— Brandon Louie, M.S., Community Engagement Coordinator, UC Davis Center for Regional Change
I’ve commuted from Sacramento to Davis for 3 years now in order to get to school. I’ve stayed here to avoid loans for housing in Davis that I just can’t afford. I come from a relatively low-income household. I wasn’t gifted a car like many are and instead have to save for my own. I’m a full time student taking an average of 15 units each quarter on top of an internship and part-time job (even two at times). I haven’t been able to afford a car yet, which means I commute 2 hours (one-way) on public transit just to get to class each day. If my travel time is extended even further with this new system, I have no idea what I’ll do. I can’t financially afford a car or to move to Davis, yet I can’t afford more time to be wasted on just getting to class. On top of that, these new buses will seat less people. The possibility of having to stand for 30+ minutes on a moving vehicle just to get to class is absurd to me. I’d miss out on even more valuable time either doing school work or taking a quick nap, which the current system allows me to do, only to have to stand before or after a long day of lectures. Not to mention that this newer system starts later and ends earlier than the current one. I’ve taken (required) classes that end at 8pm. If this newer system is put in place, I could be stranded out in Davis if I have to take other classes like that. To me, it seems like UCD and the city of Sacramento have stopped caring about the people who take this shuttle in lieu of make a profit off the public. We can’t afford to take the brunt of this change.
— Gillian Collier, UCD Undergraduate
My name is S. Josh Shahryar. I’m a graduate student in the Religious Studies Department, living in the Elmhurst area. I suffer from severe PTSD, which prohibits me from operating any kind of complicated machinery that might endanger my or someone else’s life – including cars. This means that I almost solely rely on the shuttle service to get me to Davis and back home. Ordinarily if I could drive, I’d only spend an hour a day commuting, but because of my disability, I am forced to spend 2.5 hours a day getting to Davis and Back and when traffic is bad, you can expect 3+ hours on the road. This is despite the fact that the shuttle service right now basically does a straight dash to Davis.
Any disruption in the shuttle service or a service that takes even longer would just take more hours out of my day that I could be spending doing research, teaching classes, grading papers or just taking a break from a super busy academic career. Consider the fact that I am not the only person with a disability who rides the shuttle that will be impacted by any changes. And given that we have no choice, it would be cruel and unfair to not consider our plight.
— Josh Shahryar, Graduate Student, Religious Studies
I am an Associate Professor in the University Writing Program at UC Davis. I have been taking the UCD/UCMC 3-4 days a week since I started working at UCD four years ago. I share a car with my wife, so the shuttle is my primary resource for getting to and from work, as I Iive in Sacramento. The two most important aspects of my job as a professor are teaching classes and attending meetings (often meetings that I am in charge of facilitating). Regular and reliable shuttle bus service is critical for me to ensure that I am at my class on time and that I am not late for meetings. With the increasing traffic of the causeway, I am already taking a bus an hour before I need to be on campus to ensure I’m not late. For example, if I have a 9:00am meeting or class to teach, I can’t rely on the bus that leaves the Med center at 8:10am because the rush hour traffic will often mean the bus won’t arrive at Mondavi until five minutes before my class or meeting on the other side of campus is due to to start. Therefore I have to take the 7:10am bus to ensure I can be on time to teach at 9:00am. I am concerned that additional stops may add significant delays and may force me to take an even earlier bus, and I am concerned that if there is not enough space on a rush hour bus, I will have to wait to take the next bus and I will potentially miss the class I’m teaching or miss an important meeting that I’m leading. I’m frustrated by the lack of consultation with regular shuttle riders as UCD looks to change the shuttle service, and I’m concerned that our needs are not being considered.
— Daniel Melzner, Associate Professor, University Writing Program
I am one of the more senior users, I expect. I live in Davis and use the shuttle daily to get to my laboratory on the medical campus. I can’t claim any special hardship since I am in charge of my own schedule, but the availability and convenience of the shuttle allows me to save driving each day, and affords a chance to catch up on my massive e-mail backlog. But it’s still 1.5-2 h of travel. If there aren’t going to be express routes, and all buses have to spend time navigating to lots of stops in Davis and Sacramento, that will add at least 30 min if not more to the commute. That would be a great step down in convenience and quality of life (and the famous work-life balance).
Also, if capacity is such that many people have to stand, then it will be impossible to read or do any text-based activities, so it will be very important that there should be adequate seating available.
— Richard Levenson, MD, Professor and Vice Chair for Strategic Technologies
I have been working for the University for 28 years. I started in Davis, but had to live in Sacramento because I could not afford to live in Davis. I was finally able to find a job in Sacramento and was quite happy working and living in Sacramento. In 2015, our department decided to consolidate and my job was relocated to Davis. At the time, we were renting, however we were forced to move because our landlord was selling. Unable to buy a house in Davis, we bought a home in Sacramento. The ONLY thing that made this doable, was the existence of the Shuttle. My husband is disabled and we mostly rely on my salary. My car is currently unable to make the drive between Davis and Sacramento. I get off of work at 4:00pm and take the shuttle from Lot 56. It leaves at 4:14, and as it is with traffic, it will get to the Med Center at 5:15 or later. I then drive from the Med Center home and get home around 5:45pm. With the removal of the Health Sciences stop, I am not even sure how I would be able to take the shuttle. The Mondavi stop is not close or convenient, particularly in inclement weather, and the other proposed stops in Davis are even worse. I would have to take an earlier bus just to get to work on time, a later bus going home because I would have to be able to get to an alternate bus stop, the extra commute time with the addition of the other stops in Sacramento, will make it so that I will be getting home much later extending my commute time by 2 hours a day.
Please reconsider this decision. I have always thought of UC Davis as holding the quality of life of their employees as being important. The decision to remove this service and have it altered so substantially not only affects the lives of the employees that use the service, but those of every employee that commutes since it will inevitably put more cars on the road, result in more pollution, and ultimately affect the quality of life of all of the people who use the I80 corridor between Davis and Sacramento during commute hours.
— Donis Edwards, Interlibrary Loan Assistant, Carlson Health Sciences Library
I have been using the shuttle service since 2014 to travel from the Davis campus to the Sacramento Campus. This is my main mode of transportation across the campuses since I don’t have a personal vehicle to use. I used the shuttle system as an undergraduate for my volunteering at UCD Health. During my graduate studies, I often travel to Sacramento to meet with my graduate advisor and preceptor. Now as an employee working on the Sacramento campus, I depend on the shuttle system even more for my daily commute from Davis.
— Carter Yang, SPLICE Education Analyst
The shuttle from Davis Campus to the Sacramento Campus is an important part of my work life. Although I fairly often need to drive to work for various reasons, I bicycle from my home to Mondavi and take the shuttle to work approximately 7-10 days per month. This is a great addition to my health and helps the environment as well, and is actually a valuable element to me of working at UC Davis. If the single ride fare is eliminated and the only option is monthly passes that even with the university contribution would cost substantially more than I now pay per month for my more limited use of the shuttle, I would have to seriously reconsider using the shuttle at all. Although I am fine with some of the changes that have been proposed, I would ask that the single fare rides be maintained at the current cost or some equivalent situation developed.
I am a 4th year graduate student and I live in Sacramento and take the bus everyday to get to the Davis campus for both research and teaching obligations (3 classes + office hours every week). I actually lived in Davis during my first year of graduate school but moved after 9 months after my husband and I decided to forego the high-rent apartment and instead purchase a home close to the Med Center. I echo other commuters when I say that the cost of buying a home/renting in Davis was not within budget and therefore not an option for us. One of the main factors that went into our home buying process was the fact that there was a well-established, consistent transit option that would make the possibility of a convenient commute for me — and now my husband, who recently accepted a position at Davis — possible. It is *not* an exaggeration when we say that major life decisions were based around this commute. My time and quality-of-life matters to me and I would hate for it to be treated like an abstract non-issue.
The impending changes that are said to take place in April has been a source of anxiety for me already. I am excited about the idea of having a more sustainable, Earth-conscious commute option. However, I believe that this new option with its current intended route is a deterrence to those who currently ride the bus. The current route is already a long commute so to add not even just one stop but *multiple* new stops is very alarming. I have already had multiple conversations with my husband about the possibility of moving to different cities/our future job outlook at Davis and elsewhere and the possibility of perhaps driving to Davis. I feel that I am not the only one who has been stressed and am sure that others have been considering the pros and cons of driving personal automobiles to/from work as well. I very much so wish to continue taking the bus and not contribute to causeway traffic, but I am weary about giving up even more of my time/life to a longer commute that I might not even have a guaranteed seat on. I get a lot of work done on the bus currently and am not excited by the possibility of having to stand on a bus in the midst of busy causeway traffic for over an hour after a day of work.
I ask that decision-makers listen to the current ridership’s thoughts and feelings regarding new plans and make a bigger effort to acknowledge that this affects many people’s quality of life and job satisfaction. Davis and Sacramento are both great places to live and work — but only if we’re not sitting (or maybe soon even standing) in a bus for such an extended period of time. Thank you.
— Hyunsoo Kim, PhD Candidate, Department of Biomedical Engineering
I’m a first year (1L) at King Hall (UC Davis School of Law). I’m actually from South Sacramento, near Elk Grove, at the beginning of this school year, considered moving closer to Davis to attend the university. I moved to Natomas in August but once I learned of this bus from the UC Davis Medical Center to Sacramento, I immediately started looking for places in downtown and East Sacramento. I found a new place and moved in at the end of September and have been living in Midtown.
Now, I commute five days a week by bicycle to the UC Davis Medical Center and then take the bus to school. It’s incredibly convenient for me because it is more direct than any other public bus. I also am appreciative that the cost is reasonable for a law student (who is not allowed to work at all their first year!). I know a few friends who also commute using this bus in addition to the other riders that are staff members, undergraduate students, and other graduate students.
I sincerely hope that this bus schedule and route will not be cancelled as it motivated to me move to Midtown Sacramento, has provided a convenient and efficient route for me to get to school, and reduce my carbon footprint.
— Jen-Ann Lee, J.D. Candidate, UC Davis School of Law
One of my major concerns is safety on the new buses. There will be no seatbelts. It is a universal and unarguable truth that wearing a seatbelt increases your chances of surviving an accident. All bus drivers wear them, but there will be none for passengers. The new bus will run more frequently and have more stops than the current schedule, increasing the chances of accidents. The UC Davis shuttle bus has a history of being hit or even flipping on its side on the freeway. A consequence of which was broken bones and permanent disability for some of the passengers -as there were no seat belts.
UC Davis occasionally sends round health questionnaires. One question that is always asked is “do you wear a seatbelt”, the implication being you are a greater health risk if you don’t. The argument to not include seatbelts is that at present there is no law to enforce them on a commuter bus, or Yolo buses. However, as UC Davis is one of the leading hospitals in the area, they should insist on a higher standard of safety for their passengers. This will increase well-being and reduce anxiety. Not having seatbelts on a bus traveling at 70 miles per hour on the freeway in heavy traffic, rain, fog, wind etc., doesn’t sound very safe.
I think this issue is being ignored and was dismissed out of hand when I raised it at the last set of meetings.
— Paul Ashwood, Ph.D., Professor, M.I.N.D. Institute
I am with Paul on the passenger safety concern. Senate Bill 20 (SB 20) went into effect in July 2018 required all driver and passengers in commercial buses to wear a seat belt (see enclosed hyperlink). Passengers are exempt if conditions below are met. I am not clear how passengers on these electric buses can be exempted from seat belt requirement mandated by SB20.
- Passengers are exempt if leaving his or her seat to use an on board bathroom.
- Parent, legal guardian or chartering party is responsible for passengers 8 – 16 years old to wear seat belts. x Parent, legal guardian or chartering party is responsible for passengers under 8 years old and under 4 feet 9 inches in height, unless he or she is acceptably restrained by a safety belt.
- If it is not possible to ensure a child, ward, or passenger who is under eight years of age and under 4 feet 9 inches in height is acceptably restrained by a safety belt because of his or her size they shall be secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system that meets applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
The number of stops and road conditions have direct impact on the total travel time. The electric bus committee reported the estimated one way travel time is 45 minutes. Does this estimation take account of the peak hours traffic? Did the committee pull the GPS data from All West Coach lines to validate their estimation? I am a regular shuttle bus commuter for the last 10 years. This estimation may work during the non-peak hours. What is their estimated travel time during the peak hours?
— Kenny K. Lam, Senior Pharmacist, EMR Pharmacy Team/Clinical Information Systems
I am a UCD-UCDMC shuttle bus rider. I have two concerns with regard to the proposed changes to the shuttle service.
The first was well summed by Paul Ashwood with the statement he just emailed: safety. The causeway is a known hot spot for accidents. I feel extremely uncomfortable crossing the causeway without seatbelts. There have been many occasions in my recent memory where the driver has had to slam on the brakes, and the passengers were thrown into the seat backs in front of them. Not providing seatbelts is a flagrant safety violation, and I feel that it is the most basic obligation of the university to provide us with a safe method of transport.
Secondly, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I work long hours. I am on the 7:10 am shuttle from the UCDMC and I return on the 6:10 pm shuttle (arrives at UCDMD ~6:50 pm). There are many of us who do this run. Adding on four stops to this route will add considerable time to our commute. I know that folks are claiming that it will not add time, but that is impossible. How can you drive through the slow downtown region of two cities and not add time? Their claim makes me wonder if they are conducting careful analyses at all. Regardless, their route seems to be firm. As a daily commuter who works long hours, I am requesting that they please add several express runs (UCDMC-UCD) in the morning and evenings for the commuters. I am sure that I speak for many when I make this request.
–Elizabeth Grant, PhD Candidate, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
I’ve seen problems solved during rush hour traffic that would have taken numerous emails to address. I’ve seen people from various departments come together on the bus to devise creative solutions.
The shuttle provides respite in what would otherwise be a high stress miserable commute across the causeway. Shuttle riders arrive to their destination refreshed because they were able to nap, caught up because they were able to get some work done, and energized because they had a dynamic conversation with the person sitting next to them. The return on investment of these costs cannot be easily measured but they should be taken into consideration.
The lack of communication regarding the shuttle is where most of my frustration comes from. Since 2012 I have been asking for more consistent, frequent updates from the transportation departments both in Davis and Sacramento. Those requests have been frequently ignored, including just a few weeks ago with the latest round of shuttle info sessions. The Davis and Sacramento campus still seem to be operating in silos, to the detriment of all shuttle riders and the UC Davis campus at large.
The first email expressing frustrations I had with the shuttle (and solutions!) was back in 2012. The words I wrote then unfortunately still ring true today:
“The campus is encouraging more and more people to take advantage of “green” opportunities; however carpooling via the UC Davis shuttle with no guarantee of a ride home and minimal options for those who need their bicycle to travel (another green option)seems to be discouraging more people every day. Please work with the people who ride the shuttle to come up with solutions that work for everyone so we can continue to enjoy our commute and help the environment.” (August 30, 2012)
— Rose Cabral, Staff, Office of the Chancellor and Provost
I have been a loyal UC Davis shuttle commuter from Sacramento to Davis for almost 8 years and hope to continue for many years to come. Unfortunately, with the current proposed transition to public transit scheduled for April 2020, doing so will likely not be possible. With the increase in traffic over the years, my current roundtrip commute door-to-door has increased to approximately 2 1/2 – 3 hours per day, which has negatively affected my health and well-being.
I simply cannot extend my commute beyond our already long shuttle rides. If the current public transit proposal is approved (smaller buses with reduced seating, increased ridership, added stops in both cities with no express shuttles), I will either opt to carpool, drive alone, or a combination of the two for as long as I can. Many of my fellow commuters have expressed similar sentiments. Unfortunately, both of these options will add more cars to the I-80 corridor, to the cities of Sacramento and Davis and to UC Davis parking lots.
Additionally, many of our undergraduate and graduate students rely on the shuttle to commute to and from school, jobs and internships. Many care for families or don’t drive at all so having a relatively short commute is vital. Increasing their commute times, including having just one stop on campus, and reducing bike capacity, could jeopardize their ability to continue at UC Davis or to participate in jobs and internships necessary for career exploration and professional development opportunities.
Under our current UCD shuttle and public transit systems, the UCD affiliates and the public at large already have multiple transit options that cover the proposed routes. I find it difficult to believe downtown Sac and Davis commuters require even more options beyond the current RT, light rail, Unitrans and Yolobus routes plus their access to shared bikes and scooters. Meanwhile those of us having to commute from outside the grid are finding it harder and harder to access it.
Therefore, I support maintaining a dedicated UC Davis inter campus shuttle that exists to serve the needs of our culturally and economically diverse UCD students, staff and faculty.
— Rachael C., Staff
I have been riding the intercampus shuttle since 2002. I remember when we were being picked up at the old lot where a parking structure now stands. At the time I was a student, now I work in the Art department. I have come to rely on this shuttle. I took a year off from using the shuttle and drove my truck for that time. I was lucky enough to find a couple of secret parking areas that required a short bike ride to work. The commute has become drastically more congested in the last year. The subsequent wear and tear on my truck essentially left me with a blown out engine. Now, since my truck is dead, I have to ride the shuttle as my only source of transportation.
— Dan Quillan, Staff, Department of Art and Art History