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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Unitrans resumes operating L line

The L line, which was operated by Yolobus during fall and winter quarters, will again be operated by Unitrans

By ISABELLA KRZESNIAK campus@theaggie.org

 

As of April 4, Unitrans resumed service of the L line, which Yolobus operated since the beginning of the 2021-22 school year due to Unitrans staffing shortages.

“Our staffing situation has improved a little bit, so, since we do have more drivers than we had in fall, we decided to take back the L line,” Unitrans General Manager Jeffrey Flynn said.

Unitrans stopped operating the A and L lines at the beginning of fall quarter. Lines which had a higher proportion of community riders as opposed to student riders were passed off to Yolobus. The A line is currently still being operated by Yolobus.

“Unitrans has a lot of student riders, and we thought it would be easier for the students to recognize and expect the red bus driving by […] instead of looking for a white bus,” Flynn said.

Staffing issues arose once remote instruction was implemented in March 2020, according to Flynn.

“When we went into remote instruction, a lot of our staff quit and left Davis,” Flynn said. “It was really hard to get people to apply for the job, and we still have issues with recruitment.”

These staffing shortages are not unique to Unitrans, according to Flynn.

“Most campus departments are having this problem,” Flynn said. “There are staffing shortages across campus, so we aren’t a stranger to that.”

Marnie Lee, a third-year animal science major and a Unitrans student driver, said that it is especially difficult for Unitrans to maintain adequate staffing levels.

“We almost only employ students,” Lee said. “We lose people quite regularly when they graduate [or] have other career commitments […] or simply because the job becomes too difficult to manage while being a student.”

Lee also said that poor pay can contribute to staffing shortages on campus more generally. However, Lee does not think this is the case for Unitrans.

“It is the best paying student job on campus, and, from my experience looking for employment in Davis, it was the best paying job I encountered,” Lee said. “We also get paid premium as of right now due to working in person in the midst of the pandemic.”

Flynn expects that Unitrans will again experience a staffing shortage this fall. Because of this, Unitrans may reduce service levels for the next academic year.

Flynn is primarily concerned with restoring a pre-pandemic level of service, which is directly tied to how many drivers Unitrans has.

“We really need to get our driver numbers up and fully staffed before fall next year, as we do expect campus to be back to normal,” Flynn said.

Unitrans is hiring drivers, and students can apply at vacancy.ucdavis.edu.

 

Written by: Isabella Krzesniak — campus@theaggie.org

 

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