A new late-night bus service between Isla Vista and downtown Santa Barbara will begin this week, providing an alternative means of transportation for students looking to visit local bars.
The bus will serve the same role as Bill’s Bus, safely transporting intoxicated residents to and from lower State Street. Owners, however, say the new Gaucho Loco bus line will be cleaner, safer and more fun to ride.
The idea for a new bus originated with Brad Hansen, who graduated from UCSB in 2006 and routinely rode Bill’s Bus during his time at the school. Working in conjunction with Bill’s Bus founder Bill Singer, Hansen believes he has designed a superior means of transportation.
“My buses are really nice, super clean, with good sound systems, and LED lighting,” Hansen said.
The Gaucho Loco bus line will transport passengers between Freebirds! and the corner of Cota Street and State Street downtown. It will depart Isla Vista every 30 minutes between 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., returning every hour from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Its inaugural run will be this Thursday.
Round trip tickets will cost $10, one-way tickets $7.
In addition to providing music, lighting and a newer bus, Hansen is also planning to create a more pleasant bus atmosphere by instituting strict regulations.
“We don’t want to have people getting on the bus in I.V. who are hammered already,” Singer said. “We want to make sure that people are having a fun time and responsibly.”
Brad’s bus will also include hosts, who will ward off people who are excessively drunk and provide extra safety for female clients.
“We are going to have hosts on the bus to get females closer to where they are going to go,” Singer said. “The host will escort the person back safely.”
Hansen said he decided to design a new bus after seeing the dilapidated condition of Bill’s Bus during recent visits to Santa Barbara. Hansen often took the bus downtown while living in Isla Vista and said he wanted to bring back the bus as he remembered it.
“Over the last couple years I’ve been to Santa Barbara to visit and seen that the Bill’s Bus is kind of run-down, and not the same experience that I had while I was there,” Hansen said. “I want to have it run the way it used to be run.”
Bill’s Bus was first founded in 1991 by Singer, after he lost someone close to him in a drunk driving accident. Following the tragedy, Singer purchased a bus and began the service as a way to prevent Isla Vista residents from driving under the influence.
“The idea was we all know people are going to go downtown drinking,” Singer said. “Why don’t we just provide a safe way to do it?”