The University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have teamed up with AC Transit and the City of Berkeley in a new pilot program to help relieve traffic congestion in the city and promote the use of public transit.
UC Berkeley faculty, staff and students and laboratory employees will be able to use Berkeley Lab's free shuttle service in the morning between the campus and the Rockridge BART station. They also will be able to ride AC Transit's regular bus service linking the campus and the station for free.
“This expanded service is another step in our ongoing efforts to help reduce traffic on city streets and ease the demand for parking.
“Thanks to terrific cooperation, we are able to offer a convenient alternative to campus commuters that also promises to be a real benefit to southside residents,” said Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl.
Berkeley City Councilmember Polly Armstrong, whose council district includes both the campus and the laboratory, played a key role in getting the shuttle realized. Thanks to her initiative, the parties have signed a memorandum of understanding for a five-month pilot program.
“We all share a common interest in improving gridlock in south of campus. I'm excited to bring this group together for what I hope will be a helpful solution,” Armstrong said. Berkeley riders to share the lab's popular Rockridge BART shuttle during the morning commute "extends our own commitment to alternative transportation options, which over the years has included a successful shuttle bus system between downtown Berkeley and the laboratory."
After a five-month trial, the service will be evaluated to determine whether it will be modified or continued, said Nadesan Permaul, UC Berkeley's director of transportation. The campus's Office of Parking and Transportation is coordinating the new services with Berkeley Lab and AC Transit.
Both Permaul and Armstrong said they are hopeful the Rockridge shuttle will be as successful as the Class Pass program initiated in fall 1999.
That resulted from similarly cooperative efforts between the campus, Armstrong and AC Transit and allows UC Berkeley students free rides on all AC Transit routes by paying $18 a year in additional registration fees.
As with the Class Pass, riders will need to show proper identification. For students, it will be their student ID with a Class Pass sticker. Faculty and staff will need to show their UC Berkeley employee photo ID.
In the morning, faculty, staff and students coming from the Rockridge BART station have the option of using the Berkeley Lab's direct shuttle bus or AC Transit's #64 bus to the campus. In the offer schedules to get passengers to the campus in 15 minutes and pick up commuters directly under the BART station on College Avenue.
Lab's service runs from 6:35 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. every 30 to 40 minutes. The lab's bus will drop passengers off in front of International House, at the top of Bancroft Way at Piedmont Avenue.
The AC Transit bus runs weekdays between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. at 15-minute intervals. It stops at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue near the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union.
"Line 64 buses offer sufficient capacity so that faculty and staff, just like UC students, can avoid driving in the south campus area," said Rick Fernandez, AC Transit's general manager.