AC Transit Sets Hearing for Fare Increase

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday March 18, 2008

Posted Tue., March 18—The embattled AC Transit District is considering its fifth fare change in the last 13 years, with a possible increase in adult fares of as much as 25 cents and increases to the youth and senior passes coming as early as this summer.  

AC Transit adult fares are currently set at $1.75. A public hearing on the proposed increase has been set for Wednesday, May 21, 4 p.m., at a location yet to be determined. 

District board members are looking at several different fare increase proposals, some of which would include automatic, regular bus fare increases in future years. In the past, the district has always considered fare raises on an increase-by-increase basis. 

Meanwhile, with district operating expenses rising four times as fast as revenues since 2005, at least one AC Transit board member—Greg Harper of Emeryville—also said last week that bus service cuts are also “inevitable.” 

In recent months, AC Transit has come under heavy criticism from riders and bus drivers over its increasing use of the Belgian-made Van Hool buses. In addition, the district has been the subject of several recent critical articles in both the Berkeley Daily Planet and the East Bay Express.  

The two-county transit district is also fighting to implement a controversial and ambitious plan to put bus-only lanes, a system known as bus rapid transit (BRT), along International Boulevard and Telegraph Avenue between Southland, or Bayfair BART, and UC Berkeley.