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Davis

Davis, California

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Davis/Berkeley Shuttle increases rates

The Davis/Berkeley Shuttle recently increased its fare from $9 to $11. The change was effective starting Oct. 1. The intercampus bus provides transportation between the Davis and Berkeley campuses on weekdays, for students, faculty and staff.

“We haven’t raised rates since 2009, so the increase is actually overdue to address the program deficit due to increased salary and benefit costs. Even with the increase — which is $1.35 over the current price — the Davis/Berkeley Shuttle is still the cheapest way to travel between Berkeley and Davis,” said Michelle Arnold, communications and training manager for facilities management, in an email interview.

When comparing rates between the shuttle and an Amtrak ticket, the shuttle is the cheaper option. A one-way Amtrak ticket is between $14 and $23, according to a flyer distributed by Fleet Services at UC Davis.

With the shuttle, there are fewer options regarding timing. It runs between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., making two round trips in that time. For Davis students traveling to Berkeley, they have the option of going at 7:30 a.m. or 4:30 p.m.

There are still some students who prefer to use other modes of transportation over the shuttle.

“I would rather take my car than the Berkeley shuttle because I haven’t had a good experience with them in the past. They have bad timings and I’ve found their customer service to be very poor. There was an instance when I needed to cancel a reservation due to a misunderstanding and was not able to get a refund for it,” said Stephanie Johnson, a third-year political science major. “However, it is a good option if the timings work for you because even with the fee increase it’s cheaper than Amtrak and it picks you up from campus.”

Additionally, it is not a guarantee that rates won’t increase again in the future.

“Since the drivers are represented employees, union agreements determine labor costs. Fuel and maintenance costs are not within our control either, so it is hard to predict what will happen in the future,” Arnold said. “We have and will continue to take measures to increase business to cover our increased costs. Some examples include establishing an online waiting list to ‘right-size’ the bus when ridership increases on certain routes. Additionally, we purchased a dedicated vehicle for the Davis/Berkeley Shuttle service to decrease the costs involved with renting it from the Charter Bus program.”

Fleet Services released a survey after increasing the rate in order to learn more about the people who use the shuttle service. They concluded that most people use the shuttle for personal use. The survey is aimed to help Fleet Services keep improving their service.

Reservations for the shuttle can only be made online at the Fleet Services website. In Davis, the shuttle picks up and drops off at the south side of the Shields Library, and in Berkeley, it does so at the West Gate entrance on West Crescent Circle.

“While we certainly understand that nobody likes to pay more for something, the majority of our respondents so far have indicated that the rates would not deter them from using the service, as they recognize that the Davis/Berkeley shuttle continues to provide the most affordable service between destinations,” said Richard Battersby, director of Fleet Services, in an email interview.

PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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