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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Due to driver shortages, Unitrans allows just anyone to drive the buses

“Crashes are up 300%, but hey, at least I’ll make it to class on time”


By IAN COSNER — iacosner@ucdavis.edu


Labor shortages have hit the country hard, and UC Davis is no exception. Unitrans, everyone’s favorite red buses — and the one blue bus everyone hates — is now facing a labor shortage.

Unitrans isn’t the only organization struggling to find new students to make a profit off of. The CoHo, Silo and even the UC Davis Dairy Facilities are all under-staffed, much to the surprise of the administration.

“I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake up at 4 a.m. to shovel cow manure for $7.50 an hour? I mean, I wouldn’t — but that’s just me,” a UCD administrative worker said.

Whether it’s due to unlivable wages, poor working conditions or the army of Karens trying to tell you what your job is, students have had enough. This country is at the precipice of great change and organizations are faced with an ultimatum: Keep struggling to make a profit  by squeezing the life out of an exhausted, under-staffed labor force or just pay people living wages.

So starting this quarter, ASUCD has fired all Unitrans staff and started a new “Bring Your Own Driver” or B.Y.O.D. program where every bus is now up for grabs. You heard us right — now any student with a UCD ID can hop on a bus and drive it to any location of their choice, regardless of having the legally mandated commercial vehicle driver’s license.

So what does that mean for your local commute to school and back? Well, now if you find a bus, which in itself will be a herculean achievement, it’s first-come, first-served for whoever wants to drive it.

And don’t worry If you find yourself at odds with another passenger. Whoever gets to drive the bus is determined by a game of rock, paper, scissors, in which the winner gets to drive and the loser is thrown out of the bus at high speed. If you find yourself alone, feel free to drive the bus to the location of your desire to the best of your abilities.

While the university would like to politely ask you to stop for your fellow students and take them to their locations as well, you have full reign of the bus and are never legally required to do anything. Drive it on campus if you like, through the Arboretum, heck, even into Putah Creek if you’re so inclined. The potential for adventure is as limitless as the potential for irreversible property damage.

While the university has lost hundreds of thousands on crashed buses, streets are now littered with run-over bikes and skateboards and 90% of the student body is unable to attend school due to bus-related or bus-adjacent accidents, the university refuses to rehire the Unitrans staff.

So while we may live in a bus hellscape filled with vehicular manslaughter and to-the-death duels of rock, paper, scissors, close your eyes and think back on how lucky we are to have an in-person quarter this year. And keep thinking that when you’re inevitably sent flying into the Arboretum by a freshman listening to AirPods while driving a double-decker through the Art Building.


Written by: Ian Cosner — iacosner@ucdavis.edu 


Disclaimer: (This article is humor and/or satire, and it’s content is purely fictional. The story and/or names of “sources” are fictionalized.)


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