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AC Transit Proposes Series of Line Cuts

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday September 03, 2009 - 12:18:00 PM

Faced with falling revenues, AC Transit is proposing a series of cuts and adjustments of service throughout the two-county bus district.  

In a complicated proposal, some lines are being eliminated altogether, with much—but in some cases, not all—of their service picked up by other lines. In addition, the frequency of bus service and the hours of service are being changed. And in some cases, where bus lines are being split apart, bus riders will have to transfer from one line to another on trips for which they now only have to use one line. This may mean an extra expense for some passengers who then have to transfer to a third line, as AC Transit bus transfers are currently valid for only one transfer.  

District officials say that the changes are necessary in order to keep the bus district solvent over the next several years, as well as to plug a $9.74 million shortfall in the 2009-10 fiscal year budget. If the proposed service cuts and line adjustments are approved by the board, the district will drop 905 hours of bus service per day across the two-county district, 458 hours on weekends, for an estimated annual savings of $18 million. 

The district is planning a series of public outreach meetings to inform the public about the proposed changes. The first meeting will be held 6:30–8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8 at the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave.  

Informational meetings on the proposed changes will also be held 2–5 p.m. and 6–8 p.m.Wednesday, Sept. 23, at the AC Transit General Offices at 1600 Franklin Street, Oakland, in the second-floor board room. 

At the end of the public meeting process throughout the district, the AC Transit Board will hold at least one public hearing on the proposed changes during a regular board meeting, and then will vote on the proposals later this fall. If approved, implementation of the proposed changes are scheduled for December. 

A full list of the AC Transit line reduction/re-adjustment proposals is available at 

AC Transit has also posted a chart with the complete listing of all the proposed changes in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. In addition, the district has provided a map of all of its bus lines, including the proposed changes.  

Below is a summary of the line changes proposed for the Berkeley area only.  


Line 7 

No changes appear to be contemplated by AC Transit in the Berkeley portion of Line 7, running between Solano Avenue and Rockridge BART. Reduced frequency of opereration is planned for the northern portion of the line, between Solano Avenue and El Cerrito Del Norte BART. 


Line 9 

No route changes are planned for this line, which runs a circuitous route up and down through Berkeley between the Claremont Hotel and the Berkeley Marina. However, AC Transit plans reduction of the frequency of buses during the morning hours and on weekends. 


Line 12 

Line 12 currently comes down Pleasant Valley Avenue and 51st Street from the Oakland hills, turning south at 55th Avenue and Martin Luther King to terminate at the MacArthur BART Station. Under the new configuration, Line 12 will turn north at 55th Avenue and Martin Luther King instead of south, running into Berkeley and turning at Center Street to terminate at the Downtown Berkeley BART Station. The service along Martin Luther King between 55th and downtown Berkeley will replace Line 15, which is being eliminated. Service on the 12 line currently ends at approximately 7:45 p.m., but will be extended to 10 p.m. under AC Transit’s new plans. 


Line 15 

To be eliminated. The Berkeley portion of the line is being replaced by Line 12. 


Line 18 

This is another line which AC Transit is proposing to break in two parts. In this case, the southern portion of the line—between downtown Oakland and up Park Boulevard to Montclair—will retain the designation of Line 18. Frequency will be reduced on the portion of this line between MacArthur Boulevard and Montclair. The northern portion of this line—from downtown Oakland down Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Telegraph Avenue, and Shattuck Avenue into downtown Berkeley and then down Shattuck and Solano into Albany—takes on the new name of Line 10. 


Line 19 

To be eliminated. The Berkeley portion of the line, which runs between the Emeryville Amtrak Station, through West Berkeley west of San Pablo Avenue, and up Cedar Street to the North Berkeley BART Station, will be replaced by Line 25. The portion that runs between Emeryville Amtrak and Alameda is being replaced by Line 31. 


Line 25 

This is a new line operating in a loop in both directions. It will run from the Downtown Berkeley BART down Cedar Street, then through West Berkeley north to Central Avenue, then east up Central past the El Cerrito Plaza BART Station, then south along Colusa, The Alameda, and Martin Luther King back to the Downtown Berkeley BART Station. Limited service along this line would run to Bulk Mail Center on Rydin Road. The portion of this line between University Village and El Cerrito Plaza BART will replace Line 52L, which will no longer run that portion of its route. 


Line 51 

There will be no line numbered 51 under AC Transit’s proposed changes. Instead, Line 51 is being divided into two parts, with new line numbers, and with the dividing line at Rockridge BART. The new Line 4 will run the route of the old Line 51 from University Avenue and 3rd Street, through downtown Berkeley, up to College Avenue, and out College to the Rockridge BART. The new Line 3 will run from Rockridge BART down Broadway to downtown Oakland, and then through the Posey Tube into Alameda. Besides dividing Line 51 into two separate parts, with new line numbers (4 & 3), the two new lines will run at reduced frequency of operation. 


Line 52L 

The line currently operates between the University of California and El Cerrito Plaza BART. The portion of this line between the University of California and University Village will stay the same, but the line will now terminate at University Village. The portion of this line between University Village and El Cerrito Plaza BART will be eliminated, to be replaced by Line 25. Frequency of operation and service hours will be reduced on the weekends. 


Line 88 

This line currently runs from the North Berkeley BART Station, south along Sacramento and Market to downtown Oakland, ending at the Lake Merritt BART Station. Under the new proposal, the portion of the line between University Avenue and the North Berkeley BART Station will be eliminated. Instead, Line 88 will begin at the Downtown Berkeley BART Station, run west on University Avenue, and turn south on Sacramento towards downtown Oakland. AC Transit plans to eliminate completely any bus service along the small portion of Sacramento Street that runs between the North Berkeley BART Station and University Avenue. No changes in frequency or hours are proposed..