Take Action: Turn Oakland Airport Connector into RapidBART

8 May

Next Thursday, transit advocates have what will probably be our best chance to change the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) from an incredibly wasteful rail connection with $6 fares into a much cheaper rapid bus connection that could potentially be free for riders. At the last meeting, 11 of us spoke out against the current OAC project and in favor of a bus solution, and we made a huge difference, with the BART Board nearly unanimously agreeing to postpone the vote so more studies could be done on a rapid bus option. Imagine what a difference 50 or 100 of us could make next week.

Please join us at the BART Board meeting to reclaim transit funding for BART, AC Transit, and other Bay Area transit agencies and to secure a project that make sense for the region:

What: BART Board Meeting on the Oakland Airport Connector

When: Thursday, May 14th @ 9am (TransForm recommends showing up by 8:30 if you’d like to get a seat in the Board room; if not, there is an overflow room.)

Where: Kaiser Center – Third Floor, 344 20th Street in Oakland

If you cannot make it to the meeting, but want to tell the BART directors how you feel, please send an email via TransForm’s action page. You can find a pre-written message there, but I encourage you to take the time to personalize the email, as non-form letters are always more effective.

OK, now that you’re on board to take action, onto the fun stuff. BART has put transit advocates in a similar situation to the one we just had in Oakland, when redevelopment staff refused to look into alternatives for the surface parking lot so advocates (well, mostly me and dto510) had to do research into displaying public art. Though the BART Board directed staff to look into a bus rapid transit (BRT) alternative, we weren’t convinced they would so TransForm went ahead and did the research themselves and produced a phenomenal report in two weeks about a bus alternative that they’re calling RapidBART. Pictured below is what RapidBART would look like, exiting the Coliseum BART station.

RapidBART at Coliseum BART Station

So what makes RapidBART so much better than the current OAC proposal? Via the report, it would:

  • Cost dramatically less (possibly as much 90% less to build!).
  • Use some of the existing funds dedicated to building the Oakland Airport Connector to make service free to riders in perpetuity.
  • Have similar travel times to the proposed Connector.
  • Allow intermediate stops to better serve the East Oakland community.
  • Stop in front of any future terminals at almost no cost.
  • Keep BART from incurring any debt or risk.
  • Result in more, sustainable long-term jobs.

Sounds pretty damn good to me, but I wouldn’t blame you if you thought this sounded too good to be true. Fortunately, John Knox White and Stuart Cohen of TransForm did a thorough job researching the numbers and logistics and created a solid plan. Below are some questions you might have that they answer in the report.

How will RapidBART run more quickly than the current AirBART bus?

If you’ve taken AirBART, then you know that the main delay is often loading of passengers. I’ve seen loading take up to 15 minutes as everyone squeezes through the front door, fumbles for the correct change, and moves slowly with luggage. RapidBART would have multiple doors for loading and unloading, just like BART does. Better yet, it will be free, which means you won’t have to wait while someone tries to find change for a $20 bill.

The other delays on AirBART are caused by getting stopped at traffic signals and getting stuck in car traffic. Signals can easily be dealt with using signal prioritization, which can keep a light green until RapidBART passes through. Navigating past traffic can be accomplished by using right hand queue jump lanes. Often, traffic gets backed up at intersections:

Traffic on Hegenberger

A queue jump lane would allow RapidBART to enter the right turn lane, crossing the intersection before car traffic can move, and then merging back into the mixed flow lane:

RapidBART Queue Jump Lane

Queue jump lanes would be placed at most intersections throughout the route. Then, when RapidBART reached Airport Drive, it would enter its own dedicated bus lane.

How much cheaper would RapidBART be to build, compared to OAC?

A lot. OAC would cost $550 million while RapidBART is projected to cost $45-$60 million. That’s a savings of $500 million!

What could be done with the savings?

The $70 million of stimulus funds would be reallocated back to the transit agencies, including BART, which would receive $15 million that could be used to halt some of their service cuts and/or fare increases. (AC Transit, Muni, and other agencies could do the same with their shares.)

Other funds could be used to subsidize fares so that the system would be free:

In particular, TransForm is recommending that BART request the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to shift the $65 million of Regional Measure 2 funds designated for the Oakland Airport Connector into an annual operating revenue source.

If additional funds are needed then some of OAC’s Regional Measure 1 funds could be used. Another source could be the Port of Oakland’s proposed contribution, which could be used as an endowment in an interest-bearing account that throws off an annual operating dividend. (The Port’s contribution could be reduced from the $44 million currently slated).

Another idea I’ve heard that isn’t expressed in the TransForm report is to use some of the savings to help fund the construction of a transit village around the Coliseum BART station. Oakland City Councilmember Larry Reid and BART Director Carol Ward-Allen are both strongly committed to building a transit village there so hopefully they’ll see that the savings from RapidBART could greatly benefit this project.

Where would RapidBART stop?

The first stop would be at the Coliseum BART station, in an enclosed area underneath the BART platform. It would then head down Hegenberger and stop somewhere in between BART and the airport. TransForm proposes stopping at Pardee and Hegenberger, but the great thing about RapidBART is that it’s easily adjustable. As business grows in the area, a RapidBART station could be moved for a small cost, or another intermediary stop could be built.

At the airport, RapidBART would stop at both terminals, where the AirBART currently stops. The total walk time to either of the terminals would be 2 minutes. The rail OAC, on the other hand, would stop in between the terminals and passengers would have to walk down to street level and across parking lots. TransForm estimates that this would take 3 minutes. However, if Oakland Airport were to build a third terminal (which has been discussed), it would take 7-8 minutes to walk to this new terminal from OAC. It would be easy and cheap to build a third RapidBART station so the time it would take to walk to a third terminal from RapidBART would also be just 2 minutes.

What would the RapidBART schedule be?

The RapidBART would operate the same hours as BART and would have 4-10 minute headways depending on the time of day.

But isn’t rail so much more comfortable than buses?

It doesn’t have to be that way. Check out these pictures of the Eindhoven Airport BRT connector. To me, they look even more comfortable than BART.

BRT Airport Connector

BRT Door

BRT Interior

With all of this information in hand, I’m hopeful that we can talk the BART Board into making the right decision by scrapping the rail OAC and building RapidBART. And if this post and the report weren’t enough for you, check out the YouTube videos of TransForm’s press conference that was held yesterday:

Previous posts on the Oakland Airport Connector:

35 Responses to “Take Action: Turn Oakland Airport Connector into RapidBART”

  1. Gene May 8, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    Sent a customized letter. I can’t make the meeting, but I’d love to see a BRT solution instead of a train for all the reasons TransForm listed.

  2. The Overhead Wire May 8, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    I’m all for this plan. But don’t try to sell it like its rail. That’s just going to leave people disappointed. As long as its rubber tires on concrete, you’re still going to get the bounce effect that creates discomfort on buses. And more comfortable than BART? Come now. Those seats are plastic with Minimal padding. The new BART cars will likely not even be as comfortable as the current ones. Transit agencies just don’t get comfort…for the most part I don’t think they really care.

    This isn’t really a BRT plan as much as it is a Rapid Bus plan. I’m cool with that but it’s upsetting when cities keep saying that you can build something that is just like light rail but cheaper but it is nowhere near what light rail is because of all the cost cuts that include leaving out dedicated ROW. The que jumps are a step in the right direction but still not full BRT. Eventually BRT as a concept will die if all this oversell continues and people start to realize that it’s just nominally better than the regular bus.

    In any event, good luck at the meeting. Kick BART in the butt for pushing something so over the top expensive it collapsed under its own weight.

    • Becks May 8, 2009 at 3:06 pm #

      I’m not trying to sell it as rail, I’m just saying it’s basically as good as rail for this route, and I strongly believe that. Also, those seats are just examples – with the amount of money left over, there will be plenty of funds for comfortable seats.

      It’s true that TransForm’s plan is not BRT, and, honestly, I’d prefer BRT. But we’re not sure that’s politically viable, since the MTC is concerned about traffic on Hegenberger growing in the coming years. I was initially skeptical about the queue jump lanes, but TransForm staff explained how it would work and it sounds pretty good to me. Also, it will be full BRT, with a dedicated lane, all along Airport Drive, where (in my experience), the traffic is the worst.

    • Andy K May 11, 2009 at 11:30 am #

      In a downward economy, it is time to economize – not go in debt.

      Even if the economy was roaring along, this proposal is perfect for this location. It is only a 3 mile trip, and perfect for a bus ride. It is not like you are going to be reading War and Peace on this trip – nor does light rail, or a people mover provide all that smooth a ride.

  3. das88 May 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    I also just customized an email. That Transform plan looks great . Amazing they put it together so quick. Thanks also Becks for your excellent summary.

    I was wondering if there was anyway to have access at track level. I know ramps are really expensive, and it would be complicated. I tend to travel light to the airport and don’t mind going up and down escalators and stairs, but I know for some people rail level access would be seen as a huge advantage.

    Another thing I was wondering about was the time saving from loading because it is planned to be free. In general, I don’t like free things — people tend to devalue them. If the BRT covered operating expenses it might be easier to upgrade and make changes in the future. Maybe we could have an honor system (with spot check) with a relatively low-fare ($2.00??) and off-bus purchasing. This approach would still allow rapid boarding and bring in revenue.

    All-in-all, though, this is very exciting.

    • Andy K May 11, 2009 at 11:32 am #

      Great points.

      A small fare would be good, with POP you would not delay boarding. And it might keep off joy riders.

  4. dto510 May 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm #

    The price difference is just staggering. Say what you will about trains being better (though they really aren’t in this situation), there is no way to justify spending an extra half-billion dollars to provide a connector without intermediate stops! Did BART ever come out with their own BRT plan? Their spokesman doesn’t understand the concept.

    • The Overhead Wire May 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm #

      I agree DTO, this is one of the most annoying things about newspapers and transit agencies. If you’re in the transportation business, at least bone up on transportation issues and know what you’re talking about. Otherwise it makes you look like a moron.

    • Chuck May 10, 2009 at 9:05 pm #

      Agreed. Though, admittedly, I do think trains are better in a lot of situations, and would probably ruffle feathers around here if I really got into how much I want streetcar service in Oakland and Berkeley… That aside, the cost of some transit projects are appalling, and this one is at or near the top. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn if we can get stimulus money to build a trackway to OAK. It’s that “because we can” kind of thinking that illegitimately justifies inexcusably wasteful spending of tax money. And locks people into $6-and-constantly-climbing fares, just for the airport leg!

      This project, on tires, and the BRT plan for International are glimpses of the cost-effective, forward-thinking future of transit in the Bay Area. I love that the East Bay has a great chance to show up the embarrassment that is the Central Subway in SF. We can do it faster and better and cheaper over here and show the rest of the area how it’s done 🙂

  5. Max Allstadt May 8, 2009 at 4:14 pm #

    I’m so glad that it was possible to form a coalition of activists and union leaders. Becks, you and your allies here are kicking ass and taking names. An amazing effort in such a short time scale. Blog power.

  6. Georgia May 9, 2009 at 10:59 am #

    Again, congrats to you et al. To the power of caring and doing…

  7. Patrick May 9, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    I just read through the proposal – it’s astounding, really. The RapidBART idea just makes so much more sense, for so many reasons, it’s hard to understand why anyone would have thought of the current OAC alternative in the first place.

    It’s also exciting because of the relatively short time frame in which this could be implemented. A successful launch could be the shot in the arm that helps ACTransit with their BRT plans. And with a free, easy connector to the airport, it would certainly increase demand for flights out of Oakland, as opposed to SFO. As we were robbed of high-speed rail in the East Bay, any help we can get for OAK is great. Why pay more to go farther and deal with the all-too-common delays at foggy SFO? Certainly a more attractive option for anyone in the East Bay, at least. And actually, if the RapidBUS only takes 8 minutes after a 2 minute walk, it would only take 28 minutes to get to OAK from Embarcadero Station in SF vs. 35 minutes to SFO.

  8. Patrick May 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    I think these pictures are ridiculous; particularly the first one. The bus appears to be completely blocking the northbound lane of San Leandro St. In reality, baring the construction of a new overpass to Hegenberger specifically dedicated to these buses they’re going to need to do the same circuitous route to get onto Hegenberger as today, which along with loading adds greatly to the time the bus takes.

    And the queue jumping is even more silly. The bus is going to travel to the right, wait for any cars turning right while keeping the regular flow stopped, and then merge back into the mixed flow lane, only to have to do this over and over – and that’s supposed to speed things up? You think people might have an issue with totally screwing up the regular traffic flow?

    I agree this plan will cost less, because it will do less – you get what you pay for, and Oakland always seems to get the worst end of it.

    I hope BART ignores this and I plan on being there Thursday to support the OAC.

    • dto510 May 9, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

      I think that the bus alternative should include a flyover ramp to Hegenberger; the bus would still be much much cheaper than the rail, which isn’t actually even fully funded (it assumes funding increases that the Port of Oakland and Alameda County have not yet agreed to). Queue jumps are a proven technology that essentially removes the bus from normal traffic without removing at traffic lane. They’re coming to Alameda very soon, and probably all over the East Bay shortly after that. The bus already travels on the right; the queue jump lane allows the bus to hit every streetlight even if there is backup for the cars. It helps provide the reliability of trains, without the high cost. And one could argue that the RapidBus actually does more than the rail connection, because it has the flexibility to add stops in-between, for example if Oakland get a convention center, and can add stops at the end, if OAK ever builds their third terminal.

    • gem s May 10, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

      Did you actually read the proposal? The bus would NOT be following the same route onto Hegenberger that the current one does; a new BRT station would be created under the BART station that has an on ramp directly onto Hegenberger.

      The queue jump lanes don’t mess up regular traffic flow either. Right turning traffic in front of the bus does its thing, then the bus gets a special green light ahead of the other traffic waiting. The traffic signal then resumes its regular cycle. It’s really not a big deal, and if people in cars feel ruffled, they can console themselves with the fact that more people riding transit means less cars for them to compete with.

  9. Navigator May 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm #

    Becks, I usually agree with you. However, ever since BART was linked to SFO, they’ve seen a tremendous increase in travelers at Oakland’s expense. There is absolutely no way that Oakland International Airport can compete with a bus link to the Airport. A bus is just too cumbersome. You need a seamless connection in order to make it work. Without a seamless connection to the Airport, Oakland will continue to lose airlines and travelers to San Francisco.

    • Patrick May 9, 2009 at 10:44 pm #

      Navigator, seriously? Did you read the proposal? RapidBART, as proposed, is FAR more seamless than the current plan; go to the floor below your exit at Coliseum BART, get on a FREE bus, and get dropped off at the terminal. If OAK has suffered because of SFO’s BART connection, it’s because of the disaster that is AirBART, not what is being proposed here.

      I know there are a lot of people that want bright, shiny monorails-of-the-future. But the cost is not worth it – especially when it cuts yet another divide across over 3 miles of Oakland, ignoring the needs of or ramifications to the areas it bisects.

      Also, what the hell is that “other” Patrick talking about? I’d much rather have to take the circuitous route to Hegenberger on a bus to avoid being dropped off a parking lot away from my destination.

    • Chuck May 10, 2009 at 9:10 pm #

      The OAK line isn’t going to be a seamless trip like SFO even if BART gets their currently-favored way. It’s another transfer, no matter how you slice it, unlike the P-BP line on BART which does go directly to SFO, no transfers. BART is never going to take a regular-circulation BART train to OAK (thank God; it’d be three or four times more expensive than the non-direct, one-transfer, extra-high-fare trackway they are already planning).

    • Andy K May 11, 2009 at 11:48 am #

      Anyone that holds up the BART extension to SFO as an example of a good public transit is not paying attention. The line is continually under preforming, and is a drain on SamTrans, and will be for years to come. The Milbrae station was supposed to be one of the biggest in terms of passengers, and it has been a dismal failure. The only beneficiaries of this project were the contractors and the consultants that worked on it. And, even when you get to SFO you have to switch to the people mover to get to the terminals, and then take a 2-3 minute walk to get into the terminals. I seriously doubt that SFO is gaining passengers because of BART.

      • The Overhead Wire May 11, 2009 at 2:22 pm #

        Is this country so lazy that they can’t walk a quarter mile (400 meters!) to the United Terminal and about 50 meters to the International Terminal? Frankly I never use the tram. What do people want? To be deposited on the airplane by BART? It’s not hard to use your legs and its a great walk after you’ve been sitting on an airplane for four hours.

      • Dave C. May 11, 2009 at 2:43 pm #

        Weren’t passengers beneficiaries too? I remember having to take BART from the East Bay to downtown SF, then walking a long block to Mission Street and waiting for a bus to take me from there to SFO. The BART extension to SFO definitely makes me more likely to use SFO than I was in the old days, and it’s hard to believe that I’m the only one. I used to prefer OAK because I could get there more cheaply and more quickly. Now I consider the two airports to be roughly equivalent if you factor in cost, time, passenger comfort, etc. If anything, I would currently give SFO the edge, in terms of overall experience. (Like TOW, I just walk from BART to whatever terminal I need at SFO, but I realize that I tend to travel light and enjoy walking more than most travellers. Most people wouldn’t ever walk from OAK to San Leandro, as I once did after returning from a trip. I have nothing on novelist Will Self, however, who once walked from his home in London to Heathrow, then walked from JFK to Manhattan upon landing.)

        Even though I’m a fan of BART to SFO, I agree that BART’s OAK connector plan looks like a disaster. Apart from the other reasons why it doesn’t make sense, I think asking transit users to pay $6 on top of the BART fare is nearly criminal. I know that I, for one, would think twice before shelling out an extra $6 bucks each way, and I would be more likely to use, say, a $25 taxi or a $15 airport shuttle as a result. I assume I’m not the only one who would balk at that exorbitant price.

  10. dto510 May 9, 2009 at 4:50 pm #

    Navigator, neither a rail nor a bus connection will be “seamless.” BART is not proposing building an actual BART train to the Oakland Airport, but a tram like in SFO. The RapidBART alternative would actually bring passengers closer to the terminals than the rail alternative, and would be easily expandable to OAK’s planned third terminal. In this way, the bus connection be in fact more “seamless” than the rail idea.

  11. bikerider May 9, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

    Something else that also needs to be pointed out is that these automated PeopleMover(tm) systems are notoriously unreliable. I’ve seen this from personal experience (got stuck for HOURS trying to get out of Newark airport once). And the JFK system had a fatality during its startup testing.

  12. Navigator May 10, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    Oakland already has a bus to the Airport and it’s not working as evident by the decline in passenger traffic to San Francisco’s BART friendly airport. Frankly, Oakland Airport will become a transportation backwater if HSR is built up the Peninsula running next to SFO.

    The fight that Oaklanders should be waging is the fight to bring HSR back to the Altamont Pass route and down the Livermore Valley with a connector station at Bayfair and ultimately through Oakland with a stop at the Coliseum BART station linking it directly to Oakland International . Oakland has failed as the largest city in the East Bay to stand up for the 2.4 million residents of the region which will be totally bypassed by HSR. The BART extension to Oakland Airport is peanuts compared with the boondoggle of taking HSR up through the Peninsula and into a dead end in San Francisco.

    Why no opposition to this boondoggle from Oaklanders?
    The HSR would cost much less if it came up through Oakland via the location of current tracks which go through mostly light industrial areas. Linking HSR with a direct connector to Oakland International in the answer to always diverting the huge and growing East Bay population to smaller San Francisco for their transportation options.

    I would support any movement which tries to bring the politicians to their senses, and puts HSR back on the right track, which BTW, would be the track which runs through the Altamont Pass and through Oakland on the way to Sacramento.

  13. Patrick May 10, 2009 at 9:18 am #

    Although off-topic, I couldn’t agree with you more, Navigator. There seems to be a lot more resistance to HSR than they anticipated on the Peninsula – but the supposed “shovel ready” status of the Peninsula may be the deciding factor. It really doesn’t make sense to dead-end in SF: East Bayers will have to go west and south to go to Sacramento? And, I would assume that Sacto wouldn’t be the terminus forever. And to move all of us to the HSR terminal in SF, we’ll most likely have to rely on the nearly-at-capacity BART tube under the Bay. It really makes no sense if you leave politics out of the equation.

  14. Navigator May 10, 2009 at 11:08 am #

    Patrick, I agree with you. And the reason I bring this up on this topic, is because the Oakland Airport Connection and a possible HSR route through Oakland are definitely inter-connected.

    • dto510 May 11, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

      I agree that HSR on the Peninsula is a boondoggle in the making that is potentially disastrous for the East Bay. While HSR and the OAK connector are conceptually related, they are not related procedurally. We have an opportunity right now to ask BART to build a superior connector that can serve the Airport area as well as the Airport itself, and cost passengers far less than the rail connection that’s proposed (also, the Rapid Bus-style connector would have the flexibility to add additional stops for airport expansion or future development). We do not have a similar opportunity to advocate for a better HSR alignment.

  15. bikerider May 10, 2009 at 7:48 pm #

    “Oakland Airport will become a transportation backwater if HSR is built up the Peninsula running next to SFO.”

    Let’s hope that’s the case. The whole point of HSR is to eliminate the short-haul airline trips which predominate at OAK.

  16. PRE May 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    Well, one thing we seem to all agree on is deciding on Pacheco over Altamont was a terrible (completely politically driven) decision that screws anyone north of about Fremont anywhere in the East Bay (or Central Valley) wanting to use HSR to get anywhere.

  17. Michael Krueger May 11, 2009 at 1:59 pm #

    Getting back to the OAC issue, take a hard look at BART’s people-mover proposal. First of all, it isn’t even a “rail” proposal at all, at least not in the traditional sense. The technology is probably going to be rubber tires on concrete, just like the AirTrain people mover at SFO.

    More importantly, the proposed people-mover connection is not “seamless.” First, BART’s proposal will require people to go up one story from the BART platform to reach the people-mover station. Remember, Coliseum is a center-platform station; there is simply no way to have a cross-platform transfer on the same level without demolishing and rebuilding the station! So you’ll either be going upstairs for the people mover or downstairs for RapidBART; there’s no advantage on the Coliseum end.

    On the airport end, the people mover will require arriving passengers to descend a story from an elevated platform. Worse yet, the bridge to the terminal was eliminated to cut costs, so passengers will still have to walk outdoors, across traffic lanes, just to get to the terminal! This is hardly “seamless.”

    RapidBART, on the other hand, will be at ground level, and could even have a station at each terminal for a fraction of the cost of the single people-mover station. Under the people-mover alternative, passengers will have to walk all the way from the single station to the other terminals.

  18. Navigator May 11, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    I don’t think we’ve heard the last of the HSR route controversy.

    This thing is far from over and Oakland needs to show that it’s ready with an efficient state-of-the art connector to Oakland International Airport. This connector has to go directly to the terminals and should not have more than one stop in route. It needs to be fast and efficient. I don’t think that six dollars would be an outrageous price for that service. Six bucks beats the heck of paying to park your car at the Airport for a week or two.

    The HSR route through the Peninsula will face many lawsuits from various wealthy and influential communities. Again, it makes no sense to force the East Bay region, which has the largest population in the Bay Area, to travel over bridges and through underwater tunnels in earthquake country just so that the Mayors of San Jose and San Francisco can put another feather in their hats. This is outrageous and the East Bay just sits back and allows itself to be rolled for the convenience of businesses in San Jose and San Francisco. Where is the leadership of the City of Oakland and the East Bay on this issue?

    If the East Bay political contingent ever wakes up and fights for what rightfully should be theirs, Oakland better be ready with something other than a bus to the Airport.

    • dto510 May 12, 2009 at 10:09 am #

      Navigator, we are ready – we have an efficient proposal that would address all the issues with the current bus service, better serve Oakland and the airport area, and save money that could be used to for transit expansion or economic development in East Oakland. $6 does not beat taking a taxi from the Coliseum BART station. It certainly doesn’t beat bus fare, which AC Transit will probably continue to run, further putting BART in the hole from their outrageously wasteful connector idea. And who pays for BART’s cost overruns? We do, especially in the inner East Bay, with crowded trains (that impact Oakland more than the suburbs), fare hikes, and more money taken away from AC Transit for BART by the MTC.

    • dto510 May 12, 2009 at 10:14 am #

      Actually, Navigator, if you were paying attention to the HSR alignment issue back when we had a chance to influence it, you would know that Ignacio de la Fuente tried to get Oakland to fight for the Altamont alignment and was blocked by Nancy Nadel. HSR and the OAK – BART connector are not related except in the most abstract sense. The same people pushing for the Rapid Bus also pushed for the Altamont alignment.

    • Becks May 12, 2009 at 10:15 am #

      Navigator – what do you mean by the “East Bay political contingent”?

      Anyone can start a political campaign or project. If you’re so enthused about changing the HSR route, then advocate for that, and not just on the blogs. You’d have the support of many Oaklanders.

      Advocates, including myself, pick and choose our political efforts for various reasons, including feasibility and time constraints. So please stop dissing us for taking action on projects we care about. Until I see you take action on, well, anything, I can’t take your complaints seriously.

  19. Sean B May 11, 2009 at 10:55 pm #

    All I know is the airport needs some type of connection fix. Even though my family’s place is about a 15 minute drive from OAK, I generally fly into SFO. Why? Because taking BART from SFO sometimes takes less time than AirBart and BART from OAK, especially in the early weekday evenings.

    Also, SFO now has more budget airlines than OAK does (both have Jet Blue and SWA, and SFO has Virgin America now), which means it usually has cheaper fares. That’s another reason I tend to fly into SFO.

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