AC Transit Changes Not Reported in All Areas

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday June 22, 2007

Only days before major changes in its lines and schedules are scheduled to take place, the AC Transit District has failed to put information signs on its bus stops up along stretches of one of the major streets being affected by the change. 

The neglected street is International Boulevard, where the heavily-used 82 and 82L lines are scheduled to be replaced by the new 1 and 1R lines on June 24. 

An AC Transit spokesperson blamed the problem on a “delay in printing,” but that does not appear to be the case. 

In Oakland and Berkeley alone, changes are scheduled to affect some 23 existing or new lines, with some line routes being altered, some lines being discontinued altogether, and some new lines being created. 

Sometime in early May, AC Transit began putting white, printed information bags over bus stops advertising the changes along Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley and Oakland, where the 43 line is being discontinued and a new 18 line is taking its place. 

The information bags originally contained the June 3 changeover date, but when that date was put back to June 24, AC Transit workers came back and pasted stickers on the bags with the new date. Similar bags were observed in May on other lines throughout the two cities. 

But informational bags were absent on International Boulevard, at least between High Street and 98th Avenue, until last Tuesday. On that date, informational bags announcing the changes from 82 and 82L to 1 and 1R were placed on bus stops in the 80s. At least as late as Wednesday, however, informational bags were not observed between 73rd Avenue and 82nd Avenue. 

AC Transit Media Affairs Manager Clarence Johnson blamed the problem on printing and the fact that the district had some 8,000 bus stops to cover. 

“The plan was to get them all up at once, but obviously we didn’t do that,” Johnson said by telephone. Johnson said that “there was some conversation at headquarters about how soon you should get the bags up before the changes go into effect. Some staff members felt that if you put them up too soon, they would lose their effectiveness. We feel like a week is enough time.” 

But Johnson’s explanation did not explain why the district made a difference between announcements along Shattuck Avenue, two months in advance of the change, and on International Boulevard, where announcements are still absent from some bus stops three days before the change is scheduled to go through. 

The explanation that there was a delay in the printing of the bags did not explain the discrepancy in the timeline of announcements for individual lines, either, because the informational bags did not have individual line numbers printed on them. 

Instead, the bags were printed with generic notations of “Current Lines At This Stop,” the effective date of the transfer, and spaces for lines that “Will Begin Stopping Here” and lines that “Will Not Stop Here.” Beside each notation, the bags have printed lines on which district staff members hand-wrote the individual line numbers after the bags were printed.