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Residents angry with AC Transit

By Juliet Leyba Daily Planet Staff
Saturday November 25, 2000

A long-time Berkeley resident and public transportation user is more upset than a baby’s stomach after eating hot links. And that’s all Candice Etter said she wanted – hot links.  

Instead she said she endured a nightmarish experience on Berkeley’s Alameda Contra Costa Transportation system Nov. 4 that she said made her sick to her stomach. 

“The only place around here that sells Terrible Toms Hot Links is Albertsons up by Rockridge,” Etter said. “That’s all I wanted but that’s not all I got.”  

Etter says she and a handful of other flatland dwellers waited on University Avenue and Sacramento Street for 40 minutes for a No. 51 bus that never came. 

Finally a No. 52-L came and dropped her and five other angry riders off at Shattuck Avenue. She waited there for almost an hour. 

“It was awful that wait. It was cold and there was a busload of people all standing outside the BART station, waiting for a (No.) 52.” 

When the bus finally pulled up Etter said that people were pushing and shoving to get aboard and that within a few minutes it was filled to capacity and she along with several others were left standing on the curb. 

“Along came a (No.) 7 bus so I got on that one hoping to get a little further along. What a mistake that was.” 

Unfortunately, there was a University of California at Berkeley football game that day and the No. 7 bus got caught in traffic. 

Etter said she finally reached her destination at about 6 p.m., three and a half hours after she locked her front door and stepped onto Sacramento Street. 

The following day she called AC Transit to complain and said she was met with indifference. 

“I spoke with the superintendent and he didn’t even apologize and then said that it was too bad and there was nothing he could do.” 

A sentiment AC Transit Supervisor Ben Davis reiterated to the Daily Planet Friday. 

“Anytime there is a game, traffic backs up on University. I’ve been here for 30 years and the buses have always run extremely late on those days.”  

Davis also said that it was unfortunate but that there aren’t any viable alternatives. 

“Obtaining special permits so that buses can take short detours through residential areas on game days would never fly with residents. In addition, it would mean getting special permits from the city – a very lengthy process.”