Facilities: Yuba-Sutter Transit relocated in May 1996 to its facility (formerly the Seven-Up Bottling Company plant) at 2100 B Street in Marysville. The facility was remodeled and expanded again in 2011 to its ultimate capacity of approximately 70 buses which is adequate to meet the agency's needs for the foreseeable future.
The only Caltrans owned park and ride lot in Yuba and Sutter Counties opened on the northeast corner of Bogue Road and Highway 99 south of Yuba City in August 1997 largely with Federal funds obtained by Yuba-Sutter Transit. Due to severe overcrowding, the capacity of this facility was nearly doubled in 2012 again with Federal and local funds obtained exclusively by Yuba-Sutter Transit. The lot now offers on-site parking for 164 vehicles with available land for up to 300 spaces when needed.
Yuba County opened the McGowan Park & Ride Lot on Powerline Road at McGowan Parkway in December 2008 and the Plumas Lake Park & Ride Lot on Feather River Boulevard east of Highway 70 in October 2009. Both lots were sited and constructed by Yuba County in coordination with Yuba-Sutter Transit. Project funding was derived primarily from development impact fees collected by Yuba County from projects in both the North Arboga Study Area and the Plumas Lake Specific Plan. Yuba County maintains both facilities with Community Service District revenue.
Yuba-Sutter Transit currently serves 281 designated bus stops. A total of 86 bus stop benches and 49 bus stop shelters have been placed at key points and high boarding locations throughout the system. Thirteen of the bus stop shelters are agency-owned and 28 are provided by Stott Outdoor Advertising. The remaining eight are owned by others including Yuba County (2), Wheatland (5) and Caltrans (1). Of the 86 benches, Stott provides and maintains 69 commercial advertising benches. Stott owns and maintains the ad shelters and ad benches at no cost to Yuba-Sutter Transit in exchange for the exclusive right to sell and place advertising on them while paying a small commission on the sale of each ad. In addition, 50 route information panels are on bus stop poles throughout the system and bike lockers are available for rent at four of the five local commuter bus stops.
Vehicles: In 1995 and 1996, eight 28 passenger fixed route buses were delivered to replace six 16 passenger 1985 buses that had previously been used in this service. These larger, more traditional looking buses significantly improved the quality and profile of the system helping to fuel a tremendous increase in ridership. Six 35 passenger fixed route buses were delivered in February 2001 allowing for a major expansion of this service and bringing the fixed route fleet to fourteen vehicles. All of these have since been replaced in two purchases (2008 and 2014) with a modern low floor fixed route fleet that now includes 22 buses.
In 1999, ten 19 passenger Dial-A-Ride vehicles were delivered to replace nine 1989 buses but five of the 1989 models were retained to support Federal grant funded services. Those five buses were finally replaced in 2004 with five 14 passenger buses using the Job Access program as a key funding source. The ten 1999 model Dial-A-Ride buses were replaced in FY 2010 with ten 16 passenger buses and the five 14 passenger buses were replaced in 2014 with six 16 passenger buses for a current fleet of 16 small buses. In addition to Dial-A-Ride service, these versatile little buses are also used on rural routes; to augment the local fixed route fleet; and, to provide supplemental capacity for the Sacramento Commuter service as necessary.
Yuba-Sutter Transit's fleet of thirteen specially equipped commuter buses includes seven 2006 and 2007 model 41 passenger buses along with six 57 passenger, tour-style buses. The first three of these larger buses were placed in service in May 2010. The second three were placed in service in October 2012. The seven older commuter buses are now scheduled for replacement in 2018.
Services: The last two plus decades have been full of activity following the 1994, 1998, 2003 and 2008 Yuba-Sutter Short Range Transit Plans. The 1994 plan resulted in expanded Sacramento Commuter and Midday services; Marysvilleâ€™s Route 4; the former subsidized commuter vanpool and weekday evening taxi subsidy programs; new fixed route buses; bus stop shelters; bike racks on buses; and, an annual summer youth bus pass program.
The 1998 update resulted in the expansion of the Marysville route, fixed route service on Saturdays and further expansion of the fixed route system including the operation of half-hour service frequencies on two highly used routes. In addition, one year experimental Beale AFB and Sutter services were implemented along with a one year Downtown Trolley demonstration service using two historic trolley replica buses that were purchased and operated primarily with Feather River Air Quality Management District funding.
The 2003 plan resulted in the implementation of a monthly youth pass; more deeply discounted monthly fixed route passes; additional Saturday service; expanded Sacramento services including the addition of a noon hour Sacramento Midday schedule; and, fixed route service to the Yuba City Marketplace and River Valley High School on Harter Parkway in western Yuba City.
The 2008 plan was more modest in terms of service recommendations assuming limited growth only in response to increased ridership demand. It did include the operation of half-hour weekday service on Route 2 that was first envisioned in the 2003 plan; the introduction of low-floor local fixed route buses; and, integration of the McGowan and Plumas Lake Park & Ride Lots into the Sacramento service. Rather than service expansion, the plan focused primarily on the provision of the infrastructure (equipment, facilities and staff capacity) to support the operation that had expanded over the years and to prepare for still more growth in the future. This resulted in the 2011 facility remodel and expansion project; the 2013 restructure and expansion of the administrative staff from three to four positions; and, the 2014 delivery of 11 heavy-duty low floor fixed route buses.
The current transit plan was adopted in May 2015 to guide the local operation and development of public transportation for Yuba and Sutter Counties through 2020 and beyond. The major service recommendations for consideration over the next five years include extended weekday and Saturday service hours; 20 minute service frequencies on Routes 1 and 3; and, annual increases in the number of Dial-A-Ride service hours provided. Capital recommendations included several fleet replacement and minor fleet expansion projects; enhanced and expanded passenger facilities and transit centers; and, several technology projects. While the plan does not include a specific recommendation regarding any fare increases over the five year period, it does suggest that increases may be necessary (except on the Sacramento service) depending on a variety of factors.
Technology: Yuba-Sutter Transit is intentionally slow to adopt industry technology trends for reasons related to the relative cost, risk and need for each. As cost/benefit ratios and quality improves over time, Yuba-Sutter Transit has gradually moved toward more sophisticated technology. These include electronic destination signs on all buses since 2006; retrofitting all local fixed route buses with on-board video surveillance systems in 2010; including similar systems on all new buses since 2014; replacing an obsolete mobile radio system in 2014 with a digital system that includes automatic vehicle location (AVL) capability; and, installing video surveillance systems in three park and ride lots beginning in 2014. Current projects include the introduction of both a new website the regional Connect Card electronic fare payment system in early 2017 and planning for the implementation of real-time passenger information systems, Wi-Fi service on commuter buses and computer aided dispatching software by 2018.
The most significant of the current projects, based on the potential impact to Yuba-Sutter Transit passengers, is the regional Connect Card system. After many years of planning, this electronic fare payment system is in the final testing phase with full implementation now expected by the late spring of 2017. Yuba-Sutter Transit is one of nine participating operators including the Sacramento Regional Transit District. The Connect Card system, which is being financed by approximately $15 million in regional and Federal funding, will greatly speed passenger boarding through the ultimate elimination of paper passes, tickets and transfers; provide highly specific ridership data by route, time and location; allow passengers to electronically add fare media or cash value to their card through a variety of portals; and, offer more flexible fare options in the future as demand dictates.