Unitrans UC Davis

Student-Operated Bus System

Unitrans UC Davis

UNITRANS is a transit system operating in and around the University of Califoirnia campus and the City of Davis. Except for a few managerial and maintenance positions, Unitrans is managed and operated entirely by UC Davis students. The system was established in 1968 by the activist student government of the Associated Students of UCD (ASUCD) in response to the growing dispersion of student housing throughout the community, and the lack of public transportation in the town. To achieve this, ASUCD purchased two surplus London Transport double deck buses, and hired Tom Matoff to serve as the General Manager. Duties included bringing the buses through US import and California Highway Patrol requirements, working with the office of Chancellor Emil Mrak to obtain administrative concurrence with the student project, working out requirements for servicing and maintenance, and for training and licensing of staff, laying out the initial routes, timetables, and fare structure, and overseeing the launch of service in February 1968.

Later, in 2012, as a consultant, was Project Manager for a structural study of the older double-deck buses acquired from London Transport. UNITRANS complies with federal regulations applying to public transportation systems, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Through new fleet purchases and retrofits of older vehicles, Unitrans had come into compliance with ADA requirements with the exception of three historic ex-London Transport buses. To obtain an exemption from ADA requirements for the historic fleet, the Federal Transit Administration required an engineering assessment by a registered Professional Engineer with appropriate structural credentials. LTK Engineering Services was hired to perform this work. An on-site structural evaluation was performed on campus by a structural specialist with accessibility credentials. It was concluded that the historic metal over wood structure could not provide the strength required to anchor and secure mobility devices and occupant restraint systems, and that it would not be feasible to retrofit the vintage buses with an ADA-compliant lift. The Final Report with requisite Professional Engineer stamp was completed and presented to the Associated Students and the University in 2012.

Photo credit: user Wilson, Wikipedia

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