AC Transit Asks East Bay Transit Riders to Weigh in on Service Improvements

Under a program called PlanACT, AC Transit is holding workshops throughout October to get a sense of the public’s priorities for adjusting and adding service to bus routes in various East Bay cities.

AC Transit is looking for the public’s input on where to adjust and add service. Photo: Melanie Curry

AC Transit’s ridership and revenue are increasing. After last year’s BART strike sent commuters scurrying to find alternative means of getting to work, some of those who discovered the bus seem to have stuck with it. Meanwhile, the growing job market in San Francisco contributed to a 20 percent increase in transbay ridership last year, and an eight percent increase systemwide, leading to overcrowding on some transbay routes, and reports of riders being passed up at bus stops.

But there’s also more money coming in for transit improvements, with revenue from fares, property taxes, and sales taxes all increasing. If Alameda County sales tax measure Proposition BB passes in the November election, there will be even more funding that can be used to improve service.

Whether Prop BB wins or loses, “We have to grow,” said Robert del Rosario, the AC Transit’s director of service development. “The question is, how should that growth happen? As a bus agency, we serve everywhere — the hills, schools, transbay trips, commuter trips. Which services most need improvement, and are there any that should be reconfigured?”

Del Rosario said the workshops are currently fielding general input on scheduling and route priorities, before getting to specifics about particular bus routes. So far, they have included exercises where participants are asked to map out the most valuable corridors and routes, and where they think AC Transit’s existing resources could be better applied.

“This round of outreach is about values and trade-offs,” said del Rosario. “We want to find out what people most want and need, and what their priorities are.”

The input from the first round of outreach will be incorporated into the agency’s Comprehensive Operations Analysis, which is supposed to be updated about every five years, but hasn’t in recent years. With a promising funding outlook, the analysis is not expected to just be an exercise in tightening the belt, unlike past service cuts that were called “adjustments.”

AC Transit is asking to hear from existing and potential riders, East Bay residents, students, visitors, employers, business owners, community advocates, and elected officials. The public can attend the workshops below or fill out an online survey.

The remaining workshops are scheduled:

Tuesday, October 7, at Youth Uprising, 8711 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 9, at Youth Employment Partnership, 2300 International Blvd., Oakland, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Tuesday, October 14, at the Alameda Main Library, Community Room B, 1550 Oak Street, Alameda, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 15, a the California School for the Blind, Theater Room, 500 Walnut Avenue, Fremont, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 18, at the South Branch of the Berkeley Library, Community Meeting Room, 1901 Russell Street, Berkeley, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 23, at the Richmond Main Library, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Jeffrey Baker

    Nice to see the transit agencies feeling flush. I don’t suppose they are considering restoring services that were recently cut? I bet the stops are still there …

    When I moved to Oakland there was a bus that ran between Montclair and Rockridge, connecting two major commercial areas. It was cancelled in 2009. Today you can go all the way around the other way via downtown on two buses, which takes over an hour, or you can take a cab. Sure would be nice to reconnect that edge of the network.

    Of course, if you think even further back, it used to be possible to catch an electric intercity streetcar from SF to Montclair and on all the way to Sacramento. We’ve lost a lot of ground.

  • David D.

    Connections like that would help out, but would there be enough ridership to justify the extra expense? I could see the 49 being extended from Rockridge BART to Montclair via Broadway Terrace. It’s not quite the same as the old 59/59A, but then again the 59/59A was mostly empty, so maybe it would be better.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    I don’t know, I’m not a transit planner. All I know is it was a lot faster taking that empty bus than it is riding all the way up the hill on a bicycle. Perhaps the ridership would have been better if the attractions in Montclair were a bit more attractive. As it stands there’s little reason to visit if you don’t live there.

    The main theme of my suggestion was that perhaps the services cut in 2009 include some lines worth restoring.


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