Major changes are in store for AC Transit riders in Berkeley, Emeryville and Albany starting next Sunday, March 28.
Service adjustments include re-routing several lines and reducing or eliminating bus service to cope with a projected $56 million budget shortfall by fiscal year 2010-11.
A statement from AC Transit said that the changes come after “months of study and unprecedented public input that prompted a paring of under-used routes in favor of new or expanded service for some of the busier corridors.”
While AC Transit expects the overall number of service hours to be reduced, there will be no significant loss of service on major corridors such as University Avenue, Martin Luther King Way, or Shattuck, Telegraph and San Pablo avenues.
AC Transit said that “generally, service will be adjusted more than eradicated.”
Some bus routes will be shortened to improve arrival times and lines will be added to serve downtown Berkeley.
According to the agency, the most significant change will be the branching of Line 51 into Line 51A and Line 51B, which will result in shorter routes, designed to improve on-time performance and reduce passenger wait times.
Line 51B is also expected to provide improved service to the Berkeley Marina.
A 13 mile-long line which runs along major traffic corridors from Berkeley’s estuary to Alameda’s southern shore, Line 51 was hit with scheduling problems, including routine “severe bunching” of buses and passenger delays at one end of the line or the other.
AC Transit said that by splitting the line—with 51A now going from Alameda to the Rockridge BART and 51B from the Rockridge BART to the Berkeley estuary—the new lines will become shorter and easily manageable.
Berkeley will also have two new circulator routes:
• Line 49, the South Berkeley Circulator, will run to three BART stations (Downtown Berkeley, Rockridge, Ashby) until 10 p.m. week days and until 8 p.m. weekends. It will also serve the Clark Kerr campus and for the first time directly connect Rockridge BART to West Berkeley.
• Line 25, the North Berkeley Circulator, will add a second route choice for residents of UC Village and replace part of Line 52L which has been discontinued. Line 25 serves residential areas near Pacific East mall, Monterey Market, and downtown Berkeley.
Although Line 67 had originally been slated for the chopping block, it was saved after a large number of people rallied to support it at AC transit meetings.
Below is a summary of changes to bus routes serving Berkeley:
New: 25, 49, 51B, 52
Discontinued: 9, 15, 19, 51, 52L, 79
Routes significantly changed: 7, 88, F
For complete AC Transit service change information, maps, schedules and trip planning assistance, visit www.actransit.org or call 511 and say, “AC Transit.”