AC Transit riders should brace for another round of cuts after major service changes and reductions went into effect March 28 to cope with a projected $56 million deficit in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
The agency's Board of Directors is expected to decide at an April 28 meeting whether to set a public hearing on May 26 for the proposed reductions being planned for August 2010.
According to an AC transit memo, the agency is expected to save nearly $11.5 million from the additional reductions, which will require reduction of an estimated 182,000 annual platform hours of service.
In Sept. 2009, the board received testimony about a 15 percent service reduction required as part of an attempt to balance the then-estimated $57 million shortfall. The board subsequently diverted $35 million from the Bus Rapid Transit project to AC Transit's operating budget on Oct. 28, 2009 to minimize service impacts and essentially reduced the service reductions originally proposed by half.
The March service cuts are expected to bring forth annual saving of $10.34 million, but according to the AC transit memo, the “financial situation has not yet rebounded.”
A recent report released by AC Transit staff shows that the agency is faced with a $56 million deficit through June 2011.
Thus, an additional $11.44 million in service reductions is necessary to keep AC Transit afloat, which will reduce its current 1.93 million platform hours to 1,744,000.
According to the memo, preservation of core services will be given a priority, which could result in more severe reduction of weekend services in order to save weekday service.
Some of the scenarios being considered include:
• Operation of trunk and major corridor services only on weekends – This alternative would severely reduce the number of weekend routes operated by the district, in order to preserve the weekday service platform hours as much as possible.
• Comparison of all-nighter service strategies – This scenario involves a comparison of two alternatives:
a. Elimination of Lines 802, 805, 840 and 851 – Lines 800 and 801 provide basic BART “spine” coverage, and the district is subsidized for their operations. This alternative would result in a loss of service to the San Pablo Avenue corridor, MacArthur Boulevard/73rd Avenue/Oakland Airport corridor, Foothill Boulevard corridor, and the College Avenue/Broadway/Santa Clara Avenue corridor.
b. Retention of all-nighter lines and reduction of trunk-level service after 10 p.m. – Trends indicate that ridership along the trunk corridors drops significantly after 10 p.m., and may not require the trunk-level frequency currently in place. Staff has reviewed ridership for all trunk lines and proposed several changes that will ultimately lead to a more efficient use of available resources.
• A proportionate service reduction across the district – This scenario would involve a 8 percent service reduction to both weekday and weekend service platforms throughout the district.
If approved, the changes are expected to go into effect by August 22, 2010.