Bus with us: Yuba Bus to launch river shuttle service | TheUnion.com

Bus with us: Yuba Bus to launch river shuttle service

Jennifer Nobles
Staff Writer

After over a year of preparation and paperwork, Nevada City's Yuba Bus is finally ready to make her maiden voyage to her namesake river.

The local shuttle service, owned and operated by Dave Preston and Brett Dotson, will launch its summer-long service at 9 a.m. Saturday morning at Robinson Plaza on Union Street in Nevada City.

Passengers can catch the shuttle at the plaza every hour on the hour Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. A round trip ride to the Highway 49 Bridge Crossing will run $15 for adults, while seniors and kids under 16 can take the ride for $10 round-trip. A discount is offered to families of four.

The bus will also make stops at InnTown Campground at 8:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Additionally, Preston said that there is a section of the Eric Rood Administration Building where stops will be made as well.

Yuba Bus' river service will operate until Sept. 23.

"We are really excited," said Preston. "It's been over a year of effort to get it going. We hoped to be in business last summer but the licensing took a long time. It took about 8-9 months to get the license we were needing."

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Preston and Dotson were inspired to set the wheels in motion on the Yuba Bus project by Dotson's wife, Kathy, who used to work for the South Yuba River Citizens League.

"The idea came from Brett and his wife going down to the river," said Preston. "It's super dangerous, and not a safe place to park and walk to the river, dealing with traffic on 49. He got the idea that a shuttle service would be something to consider, and no one had the idea before. (Brett) approached me with the idea and that's kinda how it started."

The two are hoping that Yuba Bus will contribute to more responsible river-going. They've paired with South Yuba River Citizens League and Bear Yuba Land Trust to create a slideshow that is screened on each ride, advising passengers on the dos and don'ts of being accountable river dwellers.

Additionally, they provide passengers with biodegradable bags so they can clean up after themselves while enjoying — and maintaining — the Yuba.

"The state ranger said that the Yuba has doubled in population over the past five years," said Preston. "I think it's good for the community. We're taking 60-80 cars off the road, alleviating parking drama, and we're working with state parks, county, city, to get the point across that the river needs a little attention."

Preston and Dotson said they expect the service to be quite popular, and encourage would-be riders to purchase their tickets ahead of time on their website, yubabus.com. With only 20 seats, the bus can fill up quickly.

The partners are already setting their sights a little higher, and will soon begin crowdfunding to expand their fleet. Preston said that they are hoping to purchase a zero-percent emission electric bus that would be charged by solar panels outside the Rood Building. They are hoping to launch this effort in the coming week.

When they're not river bound, Preston and Dotson operate Yuba Bus as a special charter. They've hosted beer tours, wedding shuttles, private charters, and — on weekdays — trips to Giants games in San Francisco.

The beer tours proved very popular over the winter and spring, bringing together "a whole bunch of likeminded people who enjoy craft beer and breweries," according to Preston.

"We're about responsible drinking. (The bus) gets people off the road and safely home."

Preston and Dotson are confident the river shuttle service will prove successful with both tourists and locals alike, though Preston is hopeful county residents will utilize the service they say they created with locals in mind.

"We're locally owned, and hopefully a service that locals will use."

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com or 530-477-4231.