AC Transit to Cut Bus Service By 8.4 Percent

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday December 18, 2009 - 03:57:00 PM

The Alameda County Transit Board of Directors voted unanimously Wednesday to cut bus services by 8.4 percent beginning March 2010 to offset a $57 million budget deficit next year. 

The reductions are expected to bring about an annual savings of $10 million annually. 

AC Transit said it will not cancel services in any of the areas it presently serves in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. However, the district will be reducing service frequency and consolidating routes. 

Although the cuts could have been more severe, they were alleviated when the Metropolitan Transportation Commission allowed AC Transit to reallocate $35 million in federal funds for operating its regular bus service. 

Because the route restructuring could result in longer waits for service, the board also extended the district’s bus-transfer policy from 90 to 120 minutes to allow passengers additional time to make their connections. 

The district has also laid off personnel, imposed a hiring freeze and required all departments to improve efficiency by 15 percent. 

It also raised fares to handle the projected budget shortfall. 

The San Francisco Muni consolidated bus services Dec. 5 to deal with a budget deficit. 

  AC Transit will be releasing maps and other information about the service changes in January.