The Unitrans bus yard






5 South Hall at UC Davis
Hours of Operation
Office hours are Mon-Fri, 7:30am – 6:00pm during regular service (8:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00-5:00pm during the summer)
(530) 752-BUSS (2877)
Web Site or



Associated Students of UC Davis

Unitrans is the primary bus system for UC Davis students and Davis residents. Unitrans is operated by the Associated Students at UC Davis. The drivers of the buses are all UC Davis undergraduate students, as well as all of the trainers, managers, office clerks, mechanics, and support services staff. There are only a few career positions at Unitrans, mainly in Administration (General Manager, Assistant General Managers, Administrative Assistants) and Maintenance (Maintenance Manager and Career Mechanics).

Have a question about why we at Unitrans do what we do, and don't do what we don't do? Shoot us an email at or post on our facebook page! You can also find us on Twitter!

Rider Information

How to Ride

Hop on at any of our Terminals or from any bus stop in the city, be sure to have valid fare please! Be sure to check the bus schedule: paper or online, for the scheduled time of departure. Each bus' route designations are on each vehicle's destination sign located at the front, passenger side, and rear of the bus, make sure you're boarding the right line!

On a Vintage Double Decker, the destination sign will be a located in the rear window, near the loading platform on the rear of the vehicle. If you are boarding from a terminal: the conductor will be in the cabin to ask you for your stop. Don't be alarmed! He or she is simply making sure they can signal the driver to stop at your destination. If you are boarding from a bus stop: walk around the back of the bus and a conductor will check your fare and help you aboard. If your destination is not the terminal, please let the conductor know so they can ring in your correct stop to the driver.

If you need the kneeler, lift, or ramp for any reason (medical or otherwise), please ask the driver, and they would be more than happy to assist you. Please fold any strollers up and store away from the aisle.

A Unitrans bus pulls into a stop on Cowell.

Valid Fares and Passes:

  • Cash fare to ride the bus is just $1.25. Frequent riders may be interested in discounted passes and ten-ride tickets. Full fare information can be found at the Unitrans website.
  • Undergraduates at UC Davis with an Aggie Card . (All undergraduates have fare included in their registration fees. Grad students do not.)
  • City of Davis employees with valid employee ID card.
  • Former Unitrans Employees - Employees who have worked at least a year at Unitrans are given a Lifetime Pass for themselves and their immediate family members.
  • Transfers from Sacramento Regional Transit, YoloBus, and Capital Corridor.
  • UCD Parking Permit Holders - Riders may travel free if they show the actual permit (except for the 'N' permit) to the bus driver. Photocopies are not accepted (This is a program instituted by TAPS to reduce the amount of cars on campus)
  • Seniors over 60 with a special pass. This pass is available from the senior center.
  • Passengers with Disabilities with a valid Disabled Pass. Application found here.
  • Up to 2 children under the age of five may ride for free with an adult
  • All passengers ride for free on spare the air days. You can check the Unitrans website to check today's "Spare the Air" status.

Grad Students

TAPS sells passes for an additional 40% off to UCD-affiliated non-undergrads (e.g., grad students, employees, and faculty). This comes to about 40 cents per pass. Note that this discount is only available at the TAPS office and not at other places where passes are sold.

Grad Students can also ride the bus in two ways:

  • By purchasing a quarterly pass for Unitrans through the Transitpool program, including 6 free parking day passes, for $34 (2006)
  • By becoming a member of ASUCD, which includes 15 minutes extra legal advice (in addition to GSA), for $41 (2008)

Discount Fares and Passes

Unitrans offers several discount passes available to community members (prices are as of May 2023):

  • Annual ($216)
  • Quarterly ($77)
  • Monthly ($30)
  • Ten-ride ticket ($7.50)
  • Summer Sizzler pass ($30) - allows children age 5-17 ride all summer on both Unitrans and Yolobus

Passes can be purchased at City Hall, Transportation & Parking Services, Freeborn Hall Box Office, and the Unitrans Business Office at 5 South Hall. You can also call (530) 752-BUSS and order a pass over the phone with a credit card.

In addition, 10-ride ticket passes can be purchased at Davis High School, Harper Junior High School, and Holmes Junior High School.


  • Transfers to other Unitrans lines are free and valid for 30 minutes from time of issue during regular service, and for 1 hour during break and summer service. You cannot transfer to the same line, or to lines that travel the same route (P-Q, W-M, D-K, J-G, etc.) Transfer slips are provided upon request by the driver. **There is one exception, P to Q line transfers are allowed at Covell and Wright, to allow P line riders to access Harper JHS**
  • Speak with the driver if you would like to request a timed transfer to another bus line. Please note that timed transfers are NOT guaranteed.
  • For information about transferring to other transit agencies click here.

Bus Lines


Silo MU
 Amtrak / 5th St. / Alhambra B  Sycamore / Drake
 Wake Forest / Sycamore E  Downtown / F St. / J St.
D  Lake / Arlington F  Oak / Anderson/ F St.
J  Anderson / Alvarado / N. Sycamore G  Anderson / Alvarado / N. Sycamore
L  E. 8th St. / Pole Line / Moore / Loyola K  Arlington / Lake / Arthur
 West Village  B St. / Cowell / Drew
 Cowell / Lillard / Drummond O Shopper's Shuttle*
Davis High School P/Q  Davis Perimeter
 Davis High  Amtrak / 5th St. / Target

* Weekend Service Only

Express Routes

Express routes only operate during the UC Davis academic school year. Generally, they run in the afternoon and early-evening hours between 1:10pm and 8:10pm. These routes alleviate the general crowding from regular service routes and allows faster travel for those traveling out of campus. Express routes only serve limited stops. Please check the destination signs or ask the driver. Regular fares apply.

  • J-EX North Davis Express via Hwy. 113
    • Non-Stop service from UCD Silo to :
      • Sycamore & Alvarado (Marketplace)
      • Sycamore & Antelope
      • Sycamore & Chaparral Apartments
  • W-EX South Davis Express
    • Non-Stop service from UCD Silo to:
      • Cowell Blvd. & Research Park Dr.
      • Cowell Blvd. & Drew Ave.
      • Cowell Blvd. & Valdora St.

School-Only Routes

The S-line was primarily for Harper and Holmes Junior High (these buses did not serve Emerson), but has since been discontinued. The T-line is for Davis Senior High School. Anyone can ride these buses, though they only run on DJUSD school days long enough to get students to their morning classes (roughly 7am-9am) and to take them home at the end of the day (3:30pm-4pm).

Picnic Day Service

During Picnic day, Unitrans runs special Picnic Day service with some modified routes. Unitrans typically charges all passengers $1 to ride on Picnic Day, even those with student or employee IDs, with the exception of senior and disabled riders.

Picnic Day routes are often modified from normal routes, and subject to change annually. Typically, only the MU Terminal is serviced. Previous Picnic Day route maps can be found here: 2016 Picnic Day Route Map

Is My Bus On Time?

Unitrans outfitted many of their buses with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) that tie into the NextBus service, a 3rd party. NextBus is a "real-time" Internet and telecom service that provides, for buses so outfitted, the latest arrival information for serviced stops. It is free to Unitrans riders and any one with an interest in knowing if a bus will be on time.

Live maps and arrival estimates are available on the UC Davis Mobile app. Arrival estimates can also be queried via SMS using your cell phone and can even be set to automatically page you. Or you can call an automated line and simply punch in your stop number (530-204-5529). The website provides a simple, regularly refreshing information page for a selected stop. They also have "live maps" to show you where the buses on a line currently are and what the latest arrival times are for each bus stop.

Visit the NextBus Unitrans website to see if your bus is on time or held up in traffic.

Additional Notes

  • Unlike other bus systems, Unitrans operates full schedules only during the regular UC Davis academic term (T line follows the DJUSD calendar). Buses operate less often and stop running earlier during finals week, breaks between quarters, and in the summer. Weekend service is limited to only the MU lines (G, K, M, O, P, Q, V-MU). Most holidays run similar to weekend service.
  • Yolobus operates within Davis in addition to Unitrans. The 42A/B route runs longer hours on weekends, and 365 days a year including Sundays and other days when Unitrans runs at reduced schedules or does not operate. 42A (coming from Sac. and W. Sac.) serves south/east Davis (El Cemonte and Cowell), goes to Mace, Alhambra, then Covell to F, to Fifth, to the UCD MU, then Russell to Anderson, back to Covell, Marketplace (Covell/113), then to Woodland and Sacramento airport. 42B goes the opposite way.
  • Do not run after buses after they have pulled away from the curb, especially at the terminal. Drivers are instructed not to stop. (Before the bus pulls away, however, running and/or yelling are often useful for the tardier riders.)
  • If an undergraduate, be sure to hold your ID card so that the driver can easily see the blue UC Davis Emblem on the top of the card, which indicates you have paid your ASUCD fee that includes your bus pass.
    • In addition, old registration cards are no longer accepted as of November 1, 2010. New registration cards are required to board the bus.
  • Bicycles are not allowed, except on the last run of the day and all day on weekends, space permitting (except Finals and Picnic Day service).
  • Lost and found items are brought to our office in 5 South Hall, Please Call (530)-752-2877 for any questions. *Note*: All Valuable items (Wallets, cell phones, laptops, etc.) are brought to the UC Davis Police Department on Kleiber Hall Drive


Unitrans was created in 1968 by ASUCD President Bob Black after the purchase of two London double-decker buses, and was known as the University Transport System. In 1972 Unitrans, as it became known, began operating to serve the general public, and a partnership with the City of Davis (including partial funding) began. The partnership with the city has expanded and continues to this day. 1

Article about the 40th Anniversary from the February 22nd 2008 California Aggie.

Just in time for Earth Day 2008 Unitrans partnered with Google to put their routes on Google Maps. This means you can plan trips across town using Google Maps.


Unitrans has a few strange procedures which ensure safe and reliable service. Below are some examples of these procedures.

  • Double-deck buses pull into stops and then angle away from the curb ("kicking out") so that when conductors and passengers step off of the bus, they are protected and less likely to be run over.
  • The high-ridership lines (Such as D, G, J, and W) commonly have a "tripper" bus that accompanies the main bus through one line. This second bus helps split the load and keep the other bus on time. So if one passes you by, don't worry; the second one will stop!
  • All drivers work a required minimum number of hours - usually around 15 per week. Most drivers, especially route supervisors and driver trainers, work upwards of 20 to 30 each week.

Structure of Student Positions

All student positions are filled by undergraduates, from Operations Manager to Conductor (but graduate students can also apply).

Student Managers

  • Operations Manager - is the highest-level operations student employee. Oversees daily operations of the system. Also leads the Route Supervisors.
  • Human Resources Manager - is the highest-level human resources student employee. In charge of the hiring and release of all non-manager student positions, oversees the shift selection of all drivers, sets up and participates in all interview boards, and plans and prepares staff development activities.
  • Lead Driver Trainer - is a student responsible for overseeing the training program, supervising all Driver Trainers and arranging training schedules for new drivers during the summer.
  • Route Training Manager - is a student responsible for overseeing Route Trainers and arranging a route training schedules for newly licensed drivers.
  • Planning Manager - is a student employee in charge of route planning and changes for the annual Unitrans schedule.
  • Marketing Manager - is in charge of producing the annual schedule and oversees all outreach, publicity, and service announcements.
  • Conductor Manager - trains all conductors and performs evaluations.
  • Business Office Manager - oversees Office Clerks and handles all Business Office operations.
  • Support Services Manager - keeps the buses tidy and clean. Makes sure we look good out on the road. Handles scheduling of SS Supes and SS Assistants.

Supervisors and Trainers

Supervisors ("supes" in the vernacular) and Trainers must hold a certain number of safe driving hours, must currently hold a prerequisite position within Unitrans, and must satisfy other requirements.

  • Route Supervisor - is the voice of "Dispatch" and the "Road Supervisor." "Supes" oversee the daily operation of all aspects of bus service in the City of Davis. If a bus breaks down, they attempt to fix it. If a bus is late, they arrange a "tripper" to start the late bus' next line on time. Approximately 20 of the most senior students in Unitrans hold this position. It requires a minimum of 500 safe driving hours, double-deck training, and conductor training.
  • Driver Trainer - is a student trainer for new drivers; teaching them skills necessary to pass their DMV test for their class B license. Driver training is spread over the course of a quarter and involves 15 training phases. Some "DTs" are also qualified to be Double-Deck DTs, or Out-of-Town Charter ("OTC") DTs. While DTs work primarily with newly-hired employees to efficiently train them in the use and operation of all single-deck buses (as double decks require OTC training and 500 hours of driving with no accidents), they also provide post-accident training to employees as necessary.
  • Route Trainer - is another training position at Unitrans. RT's train new drivers after they obtain their class B license on Unitrans policies and routes. You will often see RT's on board buses being mentors to new drivers as they drive their first shifts in revenue service. Being an RT requires a minimum of 500 driving hours and a safe driving record. Route Trainers can also perform "refreshers" during the summer to ensure that all currently-employed drivers maintain adequate DMV-mandated training hours per year,
  • Support Services Supervisor - Supervisor of all Support Services Assistants.

Entry Level Positions

  • Transit Driver - is the student driving your bus. Drivers receive behind-the-wheel training upon passing the DMV's written tests for a California Class B Commercial Driver License, with Passenger and Air Brakes endorsements. Drivers-in-training drive all of the single decks at some point, from Orion Mark V, VII, to New Flyer. Every driver is required to know all 18 bus routes like the back of their hand.
  • Transit Conductor - the student standing on the vintage double decker platform waving the flag. Conductors are friendly faces that greet you on your ride with our unique London double decker buses, and ensure your safety while on board.
  • Shop Assistant - is one of the student mechanics who assist the career staff in maintaining the buses.
  • Support Services Assistant - works at the Pad, washing the buses with the giant bus washer, and maintaining the cleanliness of all Unitrans vehicles.
  • Office Clerks - are those friendly, helpful voices on the other side of 752-BUSS. In charge of all customer service and passenger/driver data. Led by the Business Office Manager.
  • Transit Planning Assistant - Assists the Planning Manager with all future transit operations planning activities.

Apply to be a Driver!

Why would you want to be a Unitrans driver?

  • Flexible hours! - Each shift is generally only one hour long, so you can choose shifts which fit your busy schedule
  • Good Pay! - Unitrans will pay you to train, as well as cover your fees and licensing costs. After you become a driver, you will begin work at $14.25/hr.
  • Fun People! - We're nice people, come join us!

Check if we're hiring at ASUCD job listings. note: you must be a current undergraduate student

Fleet Information

See the Unitrans Buses page for more detailed information.

Most of the buses (including one double-decker) run on compressed natural gas (CNG). The remaining ones have diesel engines. The switch to a dominantly-natural-gas-powered fleet occurred on April 5th, 1996. Because of the California Air Resources Board's regulations, Unitrans plans to retire all of the older diesel buses by the end of 2007.



The now-defunct hydrogen/natural gas bus parked at the Silo This seriously looks like a charter bus from the inside. Man, I'd love to ride in one of these. The Unitrans fleet currently consists of the following:

Make and Model Style Bus Number
Orion Mark V High-Floor 40-ft 4171-4178
AEC Regent III RT London RT Double-Deck RT 742, RT 4735, RT 2819*, RT 3123**
Alexander Dennis Enviro500 Modern Double Deck 8185, 8186
New Flyer C40LFR Low-Floor 40-ft 4079-4084, 4087-4005
New Flyer Xcelsior Low-Floor 40-ft 4006-4012

* RT 2819 is one of the only known CNG-Converted London RT Double Deckers in existence.** RT 3123 is currently in the process of being converted to CNG. RT 1235 was in the process of being converted to CNG, but now has been stripped for parts and is currently a frame at the Unitrans Maintenance Garage RTL 1014 is the only double-deck to maintain its original 'pre-select' shifting transmission and original engine, it has been sent back to London's Ensign Bus Transport Museum

Unitrans' most prominent color is red. The entirety of the Unitrans fleet follows the red color scheme, which was adopted in April 1995 to coincide with the purchase of the new Orion buses. The current color scheme was intended to match the single deck fleet to the colors of the vintage double deckers. Previously, Unitrans buses were white with red and blue stripes along the sides. The first buses to sport this color scheme were the "New Look" GMC buses purchased from San Diego. The remainder of the fleet at the time was matched to this color scheme. All buses that once sported this color scheme have been retired from the fleet and sold.

Sources of Unitrans buses:

  • The Double-Decker Buses were purchased at various times from the UK, obtained from London Transport.
  • 45xx Series "New Look" GMCs were from San Diego.
  • Daimlers (long gone) were from the UK.
  • 35' and 40' Flxibles were from Sacramento Regional Transit (SacRT).
  • "Prison bus" GMs were from SacRT, as well.
  • 39xx Series Gilligs were purchased new (1982)
  • 46xx Series Gilligs are from YoloBus (1985)
  • 28xx Series Gilligs were purchased from TAPS (1987)
  • 35xx/43xx Series Orion Mark V buses - Purchased New (1990)
  • 38xx Series Bluebirds - Purchased New (1994)
  • 40xx Series Orion Mark VII buses - Purchased New (1999)
  • 41xx Series Orion Mark V buses - Purchased New (2006)
  • 4079-4005 Series New Flyer C40LFR buses - Purchased New (2008)
  • 4006-4008 Series New Flyer Xcelsior - Purchased New (2014)
  • 96xx Series Orion Mark V buses - Leased from Sacramento Regional Transit (1996 Model Year)

Some buses go on to lead other lives after their service at Unitrans like the Jazz Bus.

a photo by ForestNeel-Grant


The last run of a driver before retiring/graduating has led to some pranks in the past. It started with just parking backwards at the MU upon completion of the drivers' final runs and escalated into parking on lawns, backwards on the lawns, in the doorway of Hickey Gym, in the courtyard of the MU (bowling alley folks were unhappy about that...who knew the roof isn't rated for bus loads?), doing donuts on the Russell IM fields...

StevenDaubert says he has seen drivers chock the wheels of other buses as a prank, however it was very amusing when the victim just drove over the chock and continued on her merry way.

Unitrans drivers used to get silly on the radio in the late hours when not many people were listening; and do things like trivia. It's rare now. Yolobus wasn't fond of it either, back in the days when Yolobus and Unitrans shared a frequency.

Other Links

  • Google Transit includes Unitrans information: tells you how to get between points in Davis (also includes Yolobus which runs on Sundays).
  • Google Maps now shows Unitrans bus paths, with clickable stops, on its map.
  • Live NextBus Google Map for "live" map of Unitrans bus locations, including which ones are doubledecker buses (you can turn individual lines on or off by clicking on "Select Routes")
  • NextBus Stop Predictions Tells you when next bus is expected at any stop (select line and then bus stop for current prediction).
  • UC Davis Mobile is a free app for iPhone and Android that takes the real-time bus prediction data from NextBus and presents it in an easy-to-use package.
  • Wikipedia: Unitrans
  • The official Unitrans site has some history and info
  • Another great source of info is the big poster in the Unitrans terminal at the Memorial Union area of Campus — it tells about how Unitrans was formed by ASUCD, and explains the driving of the double-decker buses and the old prison buses that Unitrans originally used.


You must be logged in to comment on this page. Please log in.



2016-10-26 12:43:17   I have a question. When passing through the Richards underpass, I see a lot of Unitrans buses stopping well before the actual tunnel when traffic is backed up. They basically leave the whole lane in front of the bus open through the tunnel, and hold back all the cars behind them. Why do they do this? Are they worried about getting stuck some how? Maybe its for emergency vehicles? I've always been curious about this. Any drivers out there who know the answer? —jefftolentino

2016-11-03 21:04:53   @jefftolentino It's a safety thing! The underpass isn't able to accommodate two large vehicles at once because of its size. When going outbound (away from downtown) the bus has to go very close to the middle of the lane so as to not have it's right mirror hit the tunnel. However, if there was a large vehicle going the opposite way, it's left mirror would hit that vehicle. As a result, drivers are trained to wait until they can make it through the underpass before going through it. —alxamei