Transportation Costs and Living Off-Campus

I-80 Commute

If you are a student looking to move off campus, without a doubt you have already received communications preparing you for a housing hunt. Where are you going to find the perfect roommates? Is this rental a deal or are you being over-charged? Can you save money living outside of Davis…or even back at home with your parents/guardians? These are important questions to ask and looking to a move near or far from campus, the goClub can help you make smart cost and transportation decisions. First, here is some key information to consider:

  1. Rent is higher closer to campus, but transportation costs are lower.
  2. Living outside of Davis can greatly increase transportation costs (if you don’t plan ahead).
  3. Time spent behind the wheel is time wasted.

Below is an estimate of a student’s annual commute cost from various local cities (9 months, 25mpg vehicle, $3.15/gallon gas, $45/month parking permit) compared against the major transit options from those areas. Let’s break it down:

COMMUTE CITY

MILES

ANNUAL DRIVE $

UNITRANS

SOLANO EXPRESS

YOLOBUS

INTERCAMPUS SHUTTLE

AMTRAK

Sacramento

17.4

$1,128.49

N/A N/A

$0/year

$45/mo.
$405/year

$123/mo.

$1,107/year

West Sacramento

14.4

$1,003.75

N/A N/A

$0/year

N/A N/A

Davis

3.0

$529.74

$0/year

N/A

$0/year

N/A N/A

Dixon

7.9

$733.48

N/A

$40/mo.
$360/year

N/A N/A N/A

Woodland

11.0

$862.38

N/A N/A

$0/year

N/A N/A

Winters/El Rio Villa

14.6

$1,012.07

N/A N/A

$0/year

N/A N/A

Vacaville

19.1

$1,199.18

N/A

$40/mo.
$360/year

N/A N/A

$189/mo.
$1,701/year

Fairfield

28.3

$1,581.71

N/A

$40/mo.
$360/year

N/A N/A

$208/mo.
$1,872/year

Benicia

45.7

$2,305.21

N/A

$40/mo.
$360/year

N/A N/A N/A

Pleasant Hill BART

54.3

$2,662.79

N/A

$84/mo.
$756/year

N/A N/A N/A

UnitransThough driving alone in your car may seem easy and affordable, the opposite is true while commuting to UC Davis. As you can see in the chart above, there are much, MUCH cheaper options. Your student fees already pay for unlimited Unitrans and Yolobus rides in and around Davis, from Sacramento, West Sacramento, Woodland, and Winters. You need only flash your UC Davis undergraduate ID to board.

The Solano Express is a multi-county coach-style bus line that comes to the UC Davis campus 6 times per day from Dixon, Vacaville, Fairfield, Benicia, and Pleasant Hill, and may fit your schedule.

Due to the very, very low cost of gas right now, Amtrak’s prices aren’t particularly competitive. But gas prices don’t stay low. Once they shoot back up, this chart’s Annual Drive $ amount will change and Amtrak will look a lot more attractive once again.

Beyond what is listed in the chart above, UC Davis also supports other car-free options for getting around, including ZipcarZimrideJUMP Bikes, and Waze Carpool—all available to our Aggie Community to supplement otherwise regular commutes.

As you consider cities to call home, please also consider to cost of transportation and how that might impact your bottom line month-to-month.