Changes, adjustments, or complete disbandment affecting some AC Transit 20 route lines are scheduled to go into effect June 24, but district representatives say that riders will be able to catch buses at almost all of the currently existing bus stops, and will be able to get to and from virtually all of the existing travel points. In several cases, however, riders may have to get where they are going on AC Transit a slightly different way than they have been used to.
“Our objective in the upcoming changes is not to cut routes, but to improve and streamline service,” AC Transit media affairs manager Clarence Johnson said by telephone. “We hope that riders will get a faster, quicker ride and once they get used to it, they’ll probably like it much better. Of course,” he added, “if riders don’t like it, I know we’ll hear from them.”
An example of the upcoming realignment involves travel between downtown Berkeley through East Oakland into San Leandro and the Bayfair BART station, with service changes affecting the existing 40, 40L, 43, 82, and 82L lines.
Currently, someone traveling from downtown Berkeley down Shattuck Avenue to downtown Oakland would catch the 43, which then goes into East Oakland to Eastmont Mall along Foothill Boulevard.
A rider going to downtown Oakland from downtown Berkeley along Telegraph Avenue would currently catch the 40 or 40L, which also currently goes to the Eastmont Mall via Foothill, and then to the Bay Fair BART station along Bancroft Avenue.
There is no direct AC Transit service for anyone coming from downtown Berkeley wanting to travel through East Oakland along International Boulevard. At present, a rider has to take either the 40, 40L or the 43 to downtown Oakland, and then transfer to the 82 or 82L, which currently runs down International into San Leandro and Hayward.
But in advancing a new district strategy to set up rapid bus service along major transportation corridors, part of the new AC Transit realignment creates a non-transfer single rapid bus line combining two of those corridors, Telegraph Avenue and International Boulevard.
Beginning June 24, a rider wanting to travel from downtown Berkeley along Telegraph Avenue and then south through East Oakland along International Boulevard into San Leandro and Hayward will take the newly-created 1 and 1R (rapid) lines. Those lines will now run between the Bayfair BART station and the Berkeley BART station, in the case of the 1 line, and the UC Berkeley west entrance, in the case of the 1R.
Beyond that, it gets a little confusing.
The 43, which used to run from San Pablo and Marin Avenues in El Cerrito, down Shattuck Avenue, through downtown Oakland and out to Eastmont Mall in East Oakland via Foothill, will be discontinued.
In its place will be a new line, 18, which will take the old 43 route between San Pablo and Marin Avenues through downtown Oakland, partly along Shattuck. But instead of going to Eastmont, as the old 43 now does, the new 18 will go from downtown Oakland up Park Boulevard to MacArthur, ending up at Moraga Avenue and Medau Place in the Oakland hills.
The 40 will still live after the changeover, but with its Berkeley half cut off. Instead of running from the Berkeley BART along Telegraph to downtown Oakland and then out to Bayfair BART along Foothill and then Bancroft, the 40 will run the Foothill-Bancroft corridor to Bay Fair from 11th and Jefferson in downtown Oakland, only.
These and other projected route changes are all listed on the AC Transit website (www.actransit.org), but figuring out how to find those changes on the site, and figuring out exactly what the changes are, can be just as challenging to district riders as some of the new route changes themselves.
The route changes are listed on the district’s homepage directly under the picture of a bus at the top, with a link from a headline that reads “New Date: Upcoming Service Changes, June 24.”
That link (www.actransit.org/news/articledetail.wu?articleid=d00173cf) leads to an AC Transit news release that talks about the upcoming changes, but detailed descriptions of the line changes themselves are midway down the page under a subheading “See detailed descriptions of the changes” and then two links, one that reads “San Pablo to Hayward” and another that reads “Fremont and Newark.”
Under the “San Pablo to Hayward” link (www.actransit.org/riderinfo/SChanges_Hayward_07.htm), riders will find a list of all the new lines and all the old lines that are affected.
That page provides a brief description of the new service for each line, but more detailed information is provided by the links on the individual line numbers themselves, which go to pages for each line that give both a map and complete schedules for both the current schedules for the line as well as the new schedules to go into place June 24.
Hard-copy maps and schedules for all of the new lines and old line changes are also supposed to be currently available on AC Transit buses, as well as at the AC Transit headquarters at 1600 Franklin Street in downtown Oakland.