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Got $5? You Can Travel Between the Bay Area and Sacramento

 

Fairfield and Suisin Transit’s new Blue Line at UC Davis

On 1 July 2018, Fairfield and Suisun Transit (FAST) revamped its Solano Express services by consolidating multiple lines out of Sacramento and Pleasant Hill BART, and revamping its highly-successful Fairfield Transportation Center to El Cerrito del Norte BART service. It has also revamped its fare structure, such that you can now travel between the Bay Area and the State Capitol for $5, payable using cash or Clipper Card. This marks an important milestone in enhancing regional transit connectivity in northern California, in which the bargain basement fare beats out Amtrak train fares between Emeryville and Sacramento by over 50%.

Called FAST Blue, it links Pleasant Hill BART with Benicia Industrial Park, Fairfield Transportation Center, and Vacaville Transportation Center, similar to the old FAST Routes 20 and 40. Since early July, it has also replaced FAST Route 30, linking Fairfield Transportation Center with Sacramento, serving Vacaville, Dixon, and Davis. In comparison with the old FAST Routes, however, FAST Blue streamlines services to communities along the I-80 and I-680 corridors, with new stops close to two Solano Community College campuses in Fairfield and Vacaville, as well as an extension of service through Downtown Sacramento to serve Sacramento Valley Amtrak station. With a combined distance of around 75 miles, it is significantly longer than Golden Gate Transit’s longest services between San Francisco and Santa Rosa (approximately 55 miles), or YoloBus’ Routes 42A and 42B that serve UC Davis and Sacramento, with an approximate loop distance of 51 miles for each route.

It currently operates weekdays and Saturdays, with weekday service operating between Pleasant Hill BART and Downtown Sacramento via both Solano Community College campuses, Dixon Park-and-Ride, and UC Davis. Saturday service is only provided between Pleasant Hill BART and UC Davis, and passengers continuing on to Sacramento must transfer to either YoloBus at Memorial Union or Amtrak via Unitrans.

When FAST 30 operated buses to Sacramento, it stopped at Memorial Union Terminal, allowing timed transfers to Unitrans and YoloBus services. With FAST Blue, that stop has been transferred to the Silo Terminal, located southwest of Memorial Union. This transfer now requires riders wanting to ride YoloBus Routes 42A and 42B to walk at least 10 minutes to access the Memorial Union Terminal from Silo Terminal.

A text-based explanation of the various service patterns found with FAST Blue can be seen below, divided by segment.

Operates Weekdays and Saturdays

Northbound:

  • Weekdays:
    • Every 30 to 40 minutes from 5:27am to 9:37am
    • Every 60 minutes from 9:37am to 2:37pm
    • Every 30 minutes from 2:37pm to 6:37pm
    • Last trip at 7:37pm
  • Saturdays: every 60 minutes from 9:05am to 7:05pm

 Southbound:

  • Mondays to Thursdays:
    • Every 20 to 40 minutes from 4:35am to 8:40am
    • Every 60 minutes from 8:40am to 1:40pm
    • Every 30 minutes from 1:40pm to 5:40pm
    • Last trip at 6:31pm
  • Fridays:
    • Every 20 to 40 minutes from 4:35am to 8:40am
    • Every 60 minutes from 8:40am to 1:40pm
    • Every 30 minutes from 1:40pm to 5:40pm
    • Last trip at 6:40pm
  • Saturdays: every 60 minutes from 8:05am to 6:05pm

Operates Weekdays and Saturdays

Northbound:

  •  Mondays to Thursdays:
    • Every 10 to 30 minutes from 6:00am to 7:22am
    • Every 60 minutes from 7:22am to 1:22pm
    • Every 25 to 40 minutes from 1:22pm to 3:27pm
    • Every 30 to 60 minutes from 3:27pm to 7:27pm
    • Last trip at 8:13pm
  • Fridays:
    • Every 10 to 30 minutes from 6:00am to 7:22am
    • Every 60 minutes from 7:22am to 12:24pm
    • Every 15 to 45 minutes from 12:24pm to 3:30pm
    • Every 30 to 60 minutes from 3:30pm to 7:27pm
    • Last trip at 8:13pm
  • Saturdays: every 120 minutes from 10:00am to 4:00pm

Southbound:

  • Mondays to Thursdays:
    • Every 20 to 50 minutes from 4:19am to 10:08am
      • Trips leaving at 8:07am, 8:44am, and 9:50am operate as far as Fairfield Transportation Center only
    • Every 50 to 70 minutes from 10:08am to 1:18pm
      • Trips leaving at 10:08am and 12:08pm operate as far as Fairfield Transportation Center only
    • Every 60 minutes from 1:18pm to 5:18pm
    • Every 20 to 35 minutes from 5:18pm to 6:39pm
      • Trips leaving at 5:51pm and 6:39pm operate to Fairfield Transportation Center only
      • Final trip to Pleasant Hill BART leaves Vacaville Transportation Center at 6:09pm
    • Last trip at 7:19pm operates to Fairfield Transportation Center only
  • Fridays:
    • Every 20 to 50 minutes from 4:19am to 10:08am
      • Trips leaving at 8:07am, 8:44am, and 9:50am operate as far as Fairfield Transportation Center only
    • Every 60 to 70 minutes from 10:08am to 3:18pm
      • Trips leaving at 10:08am and 12:08pm operate as far as Fairfield Transportation Center only
    • Every 30 to 40 minutes from 3:18pm to 7:24pm
      • Final trip to Pleasant Hill BART leaves Vacaville TC at 6:18pm
      • Trips leaving at 5:55pm, 6:51pm, and 7:24pm operate as far as Fairfield Transportation Center only
  • Saturdays: every 120 minutes from 9:40am to 5:40pm

Operates Weekdays and Saturdays

Northbound:

  • Mondays to Thursdays:
    • Every 10 to 35 minutes from 6:14am to 7:38am
      • Trips leaving at 6:14am, 6:44am, and 7:05am do not serve Vaca Valley Parkway or UC Davis and operate express to Sacramento after leaving Dixon Park-and-Ride
      • Trip leaving 6:54am also does not serve Vaca Valley Parkway but ends at UC Davis
      • Trip leaving at 7:38am serves Vaca Valley Parkway and UC Davis
    • Every 60 minutes from 7:38am to 1:38pm
      • Trips leaving at 9:38am and 11:38am end at Vaca Valley Parkway
    • Every 25 to 40 minutes from 1:38pm to 3:47pm
      • Trip leaving at 1:38pm from Vacaville TC does not serve UC Davis
      • Final trip to Sacramento leaves Vacaville Transportation Center at 3:47pm
    • Every 30 to 60 minutes from 3:47pm to 7:14pm
      • Trips leaving at 6:17pm and 7:14pm operate to Dixon Park-and-Ride
      • All other trips end at Vaca Valley Parkway
  • Fridays:
    • Every 10 to 35 minutes from 6:14am to 7:38am
      • Trips leaving at 6:14am, 6:44am, and 7:05am do not serve Vaca Valley Parkway or UC Davis, and instead operate express to Sacramento after leaving Dixon Park-and-Ride
      • Trip leaving at 6:54am also does not serve Vaca Valley Parkway, but only operates to UC Davis
      • Trip leaving at 7:38am operates via Vaca Valley Parkway and stops at UC Davis before continuing to Sacramento
    • Every 60 minutes from 7:38am to 11:38am
      • Trips leaving at 9:38am and 11:38am end at Vaca Valley Parkway and do not continue to UC Davis or Sacramento
    • Every 15 to 50 minutes from 12:45pm to 3:55pm
      • Trips leaving at 1:49pm and 2:51pm end at Vaca Valley Parkway
      • Trips leaving at 12:45pm, 1:19pm, 2:15pm, and 3:55pm stop at Vaca Valley Parkway and UC Davis before continuing to Sacramento
      • Trip leaving at 3:08pm skips Vaca Valley Parkway and UC Davis, operating express to Sacramento after leaving Dixon Park-and-Ride
      • Final bus for Sacramento leaves Vacaville TC at 3:55pm
    • After 3:55pm trip, next northbound bus leaves 90 minutes later at 5:25pm, with trips every 25 to 30 minutes until 7:18pm
      • Trips leaving at 5:55pm, 6:55pm, and 7:18pm operate to Dixon Park-and-Ride after serving Vaca Valley Parkway
      • Buses leaving at 5:25pm and 6:55pm terminate at Vaca Valley Parkway
  • Saturdays: every 120 minutes from 8:16am to 4:18pm 

Southbound:

  • Mondays to Thursdays:
    • Buses leaving at 4:59am and 5:59am from Dixon Park-and-Ride serve Vaca Valley Parkway and Fairfield to Pleasant Hill BART
    • First bus from UC Davis leaves for Fairfield Transportation Center via Dixon Park-and-Ride and Vacaville at 7:32am
    • Bus leaving 8:58am from Dixon Park-and-Ride continues to Pleasant Hill BART via Vacaville, Fairfield, and Benicia
    • Buses leaving at 9:59am and 11:59am from Vaca Valley Parkway operates only as far as Fairfield Transportation Center
    • Buses leaving at 10:43am, 12:43pm, 2:43pm, 3:43pm, and 4:43pm from UC Davis continue to Pleasant Hill BART via Dixon, Vacaville, Fairfield, and Benicia
    • Bus leaving Vaca Valley Parkway at 2:09pm operates to Pleasant Hill BART via Vacaville TC, Fairfield, and Benicia
    • Bus leaving UC Davis at 5:16pm operates only as far as Fairfield Transportation Center via Dixon and Vacaville
    • Bus leaving Dixon Park-and-Ride at 5:48pm operates to Pleasant Hill BART via Vacaville, Fairfield, and Benicia
    • Buses leaving Dixon Park-and-Ride at 6:18pm and Vaca Valley Parkway at 7:10pm only operate as far as Fairfield Transportation Center
  • Fridays:
    • Buses leaving at 4:59am and 5:58am operate to Pleasant Hill BART from Dixon Park-and-Ride via Vacaville and Fairfield
    • First bus from UC Davis leaves for Fairfield Transportation Center via Dixon Park-and-Ride and Vacaville at 7:32am
    • Bus leaving 8:58am from Dixon Park-and-Ride continues to Pleasant Hill BART via Vacaville, Fairfield, and Benicia
    • Buses leaving at 9:59am and 11:59am from Vaca Valley Parkway operates only as far as Fairfield Transportation Center
    • Buses leaving at 10:43am, 12:43pm, 3:13pm, 3:43pm, and 5:43pm from UC Davis continue to Pleasant Hill BART via Dixon, Vacaville, Fairfield, and Benicia
    • Buses leaving Vaca Valley Parkway at 2:09pm, 3:09pm, 3:39pm, 4:09pm, 5:09pm, and 5:57pm operate to Pleasant Hill BART via Vacaville TC, Fairfield, and Benicia
    • Buses leaving Dixon Park-and-Ride at 6:30pm and Vacaville TC at 5:46pm and 7:15pm only operate as far as Fairfield Transportation Center
  • Saturdays: every 120 minutes from 9:05am to 5:05pm

Operates Weekdays only. Weekend and holiday services available with YoloBus Routes 42A and 42B. Some southbound services skip UC Davis.

Northbound:

  • Mondays to Thursdays:
    • Every 60 to 120 minutes from 8:10am to 1:10pm
    • Next trips leave at 2:42pm, 3:14pm, 3:40pm, and 4:20pm
  • Fridays:
    • Every 60 to 130 minutes from 8:10am to 1:18pm
    • Next trips at 1:52pm, 2:52pm, and 4:32pm

Southbound:

  • Mondays to Thursdays:
    • Buses to Pleasant Hill BART leave Sacramento Amtrak at 7:32am, 8:20am, 10:03am, 12:03pm, 2:03pm, then approximately every 60 minutes until 5:05pm
    • Buses leaving Sacramento at 7:57am, 9:03am, 4:28pm and 5:40pm only operate as far as Fairfield Transportation Center
  • Fridays:
    • Buses for Pleasant Hill BART leave Sacramento Amtrak at 7:32am, 8:20am, 10:03am, 12:03pm, 2:32pm, 2:58pm, 4:14pm, and 4:50pm
    • Buses leaving Sacramento at 7:57am, 9:03am, and 5:50pm only travel as far as Fairfield Transportation Center

And the fares can be seen below:

FAST Blue Fares

These fares are similar to SolTrans’ Routes 80, 85, and the Yellow Line. Note: for “Within Solano County” fares, please pay in cash; Clipper card readers are preset for Outside Solano County fares.

ADULTS (19-64)

Single Ride:

  • Within Solano County: $2.75
  • Outside Solano County: $5.00

Day Pass:

  • Within Solano County: $5,50
  • Outside Solano County: $10.00

yOUTH (6-18)

Single Ride:

  • Within Solano County: $2.00
  • Outside Solano County: $4.00

Day Pass:

  • Within Solano County: $4.00
  • Outside Solano County: $8.00

SENIORS (65+), DISABLED, AND mEDICARE

Single Ride:

  • Within Solano County: $1.35
  • Outside Solano County: $2.50

Day Pass:

  • Within Solano County: $2.75
  • Outside Solano County: $5,00
Distance Covered with FAST Blue
Eastbound

58 miles out of 76.3 total

Time Savings with FAST Blue vs. Multistop Services
Web Designer 33.33%

140 minutes vs. 210 minutes (figures are approximate)

My recent experience on board FAST Blue brought me relief and made my journey easier, knowing that it is a one-ride service to Fairfield, Vacaville, UC Davis, and Sacramento, places that used to be difficult to visit. Prior to my most recent journey, it required three trips en route to get to UC Davis from Walnut Creek BART:

  • FAST 40 to Fairfield Transportation Center
  • FAST 20 to Vacaville Transportation Center
  • Either:
    • FAST 30 to UC Davis (Memorial Union or Silo) via Dixon
    • YoloBus 220 to UC Davis Memorial Union via Winters

Worse, with only a handful of trips from UC Davis to Fairfield on FAST 30 and limited onward connections to the Bay Area, I was forced to leave Davis by 2:30pm when it only had a 5-minute turnaround in Sacramento. At the time, I did not fully enjoy the time I spent in Davis as I felt rushed dealing with FAST’s meager schedules while being limited to watching buses at either Memorial Union or Silo.

Seats inside FAST Bus 680

With $5 and a ride time of approximately 2 hours from end to end (slightly longer during rush hours), FAST Blue promises to make commuting along Interstates 80 and 680 through Solano County, Davis, and Sacramento much easier and quicker. I am looking forward, however, to seeing better buses on this line, especially FAST recently ordered six new MCI D4500CT coaches for use on this service and on the Green Express line. Hopefully, the new buses will have on-board TV and folding tables, similar to those found on board units 670 to 679.

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