Unitrans’ Memorial Union (MU) bus terminal was originally designed in the 1970s. Because the needs of passengers have changed, Unitrans officials are planning to build a new terminal that is safer and more efficient.
The main focus is to improve the safety for passengers and to provide better real-time information for the expanding fleet of buses.
“The current terminal is undersized,” said Geoff Straw, the general manager of Unitrans. “The new terminal will have the amenities similar to a train station to provide better real-time information for bus departures.”
The master plan for the terminal includes installing a LCD screen that will display bus arrivals and departures. Unitrans also plans to separate the buses from the regular cars that drive through the terminal during operation, as they cause delays. Straw said he hopes to have the master plan completed in the next few months.
Straw wants the construction to begin after Spring 2014 and for the terminal to be fully operating by Fall 2014. Much of the construction will occur over the summer, which will limit the disruption of classes, he said.
Currently, Unitrans is aiming for the project’s budget to be $2 to 3 million – 80 percent of revenue will come from the federal transit administration and 20 percent will come from the local level. Student fees to ASUCD will not increase with the construction of the terminal, Straw said.
“This is part of the last fee initiative – if the cost estimate increases, we will find money from other sources,” Straw said. “This could potentially save students money through operating efficiency that could be realized at the new MU passenger terminal.”
Representatives from the ASUCD Senate are part of the Davis City Council’s Unitrans Advisory Committee. So far, the City Council is behind the project, Straw said.
Scott Weintraub, assistant general manager of operations, said there are no plans to add any bus lines to the new MU terminal. Recently, Unitrans has added two bus lines to its operation – the V-line, which runs through the West Village apartment complex and the Silo terminal, and the O-line, which goes to Target.
Unitrans hopes to keep its historic London-style artifacts as part of the new MU terminal, Weintraub said. But officials may look into ways to improve the vintage buses – they lead off on the operating side of the road, which can be hazardous to passengers. Unitrans also wants to preserve the Heritage trees that currently surround the terminal, Straw said.
“When people think of UC Davis, they think of Unitrans,” said Eli Yani, an ASUCD senator. “Without it, it is uncertain how many students would not be able to get to campus.”
Students pay $41 per quarter to ASUCD; of that fee, $30.50, or 75 percent, goes toward the operation of Unitrans. The annual budget of Unitrans is $4.2 million. Approximately $2.1 million is allocated through student fees.
Unitrans has 14 lines that run on a daily basis, which collectively carry over three million passengers each year.
ALICIA KINDRED can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.