Executive Director's Message
Executive Director, YCTD
YOLOBUS To Turn 30!
Yolobus will celebrate its 30th anniversary on January 3, 2012. Yolobus is overseen by the Yolo County Transportation District.
Imagine 1,684 sellouts of Sacramento Kings games at Power Balance Pavilion (previously Arco Arena). That's over 40 regular seasons worth of home games! Or how about 1,950 sellouts at Raley Field-over 25 home game seasons? What about more riders than the total 25 million population of Texas? Over 29 million people--that is how many rides YOLOBUS has provided since its inception on January 3, 1982. Put another way, if every rider was to hold hands, there would be more than enough riders to circle the entire Earth at the Equator.
In 1982, the County of Yolo contracted out most services to a firm which used 14 old diesel buses that averaged over 16 years of age and were not wheelchair accessible. Most service was operated out of a gravel yard in East Yolo (now West Sacramento). Some rural services were operated directly by the County, using vans and "cutaway" vehicles. The following has been accomplished since then:
- Taxpayers in Yolo County have realized a savings of $40-$45 million through partnerships with the private sector. (Veolia Transportation is our bus contractor through the year 2020). This savings has allowed jurisdictions to increase transit services and repair more roads over the years. It also allowed us to sustain the current level of bus service during recent difficult economic times. Of the 126 employees associated with Yolobus, 115, or 91%, work for Veolia.
- Operated enough bus miles to circle the globe over 1,200 times. Every weekday, we operate enough service to drive from Woodland to New York City and back!
- Purchased some 80 buses over those years. All buses are wheelchair accessible.
- Negotiated the first transfer agreement in the region with Sacramento RT, allowing transit operators to ride multiple systems using the same fare media.
- Among the first in the state to pursue compressed natural gas (CNG) technology, dating back to 1989, in joint venture between public and private sector (including Chevron Research, Accurex and Sierra Research). To date, we've logged over 22 million miles on CNG buses.
- Currently own 44 CNG buses.
- Also own six 57-passenger highway coaches that run on clean diesel.
- Also own 10 smaller vehicles primarily for serving the frail elderly and disabled.
- Became first transit system in Sacramento region to have bike racks on its buses.
- In 2007, became the first system in the Sacramento region to offer live, real-time vehicle location information to the general public.
- Since 1997, initiated hourly inter-city service to Woodland, Davis, West Sacramento, downtown Sacramento, and Sacramento International Airport.
- Initiated local and paratransit service in the City of Woodland.
- Initiated intercity service for the City of Winters.
- Reconfigured Davis/Sacramento express bus service.
- Reconfigured, expanded local service and funded a transit center in the City of West Sacramento.
- Negotiated an agreement with the Associated Student Body of U.C. Davis allowing undergraduates to ride YOLOBUS with their ID card.
- The District became a member of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, which operates 32 passenger train trips a day between Sacramento and Oakland, all of which stop in Davis, and several of which continue to San Jose.
- Constructed CNG fueling facility, including a dispensing system open to the public. Currently, CNG fuel is about $1 per gallon equivalent less than gasoline.
- Initiated highly successful partnership with Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, including significant financial support, for bus service between Woodland and Cache Creek Resort and Casino, in Brooks. That service alone provides upwards of 24,000 rides a month, 86% of which are by employees, and provides a frequency of service (17 round trips a day) that otherwise would not have been possible.
- YOLOBUS has won many awards and recognitions over the years from such sources as President Clinton, Sacramento Area Council of Governments, the American Lung Association, the California Transportation Foundation, the California Transit Association, the California Legislature, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other groups.
- " YOLOBUS transitioned from a Joint Powers Agreement run by Yolo County, to a separate Authority run by a board of electeds and senior staffers, to include a Congestion Management Agency role (helping to obtain funds for road and bike projects), to a special district approved by the State Legislature and Governor. The special district now includes representatives from the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, plus the Woodland, Winters, Davis, and West Sacramento City Councils, along with one representative from Caltrans and one from the University of California, Davis.
Projects in the works:
- Installing 30 new bus shelters with solar powered lights throughout Yolo County.
- In the process of installing four poles with solar powered lighting at Woodland's bus transfer station.
- Beginning design work for bus turnout improvements in Madison and a bus stop on Main Street near YCTD's offices.
- Constructing improvements at the Yolobus Woodland Operations/Maintenance/Administration facility, including improved bus stop on Industrial Way, restroom and locker facilities, driver and mechanic rest areas, and additional bus parking.
- Will soon implement "My Ride", for more customer friendly web and phone based real time bus information.
- Will be upgrading our voice announcement system for inside the buses.
- Currently participating in a project that could establish streetcar service between West Sacramento and downtown Sacramento.
- Will be considering splitting Woodland/Sacramento express service from one route into two routes, using park-and-ride capabilities at the Gateway Shopping Center.
- Will be considering adding one additional day/week service to Knights Landing.
Terry Bassett, Executive Director
Yolo County Transportation District