Tag Archives: AC Transit

AC Transit & BART seek community input on redistricting

3 Oct

The state’s redistricting has been completed (pending legal challenges and ballot initiatives) and the City of Oakland’s redistricting won’t happen until next year, so right now anyone who’s interested in redistricting should have plenty of time to focus on AC Transit and BART’s processes. In the coming weeks, both agencies are holding community meetings about redistricting so there should be plenty of opportunity to weigh in.

AC Transit recently released its redistricting proposals (at the bottom of this page), and for Oakland, no matter which proposal the Board picks, not much will change. Oakland right now is represented by four directors – two at-large and two representing districts. The at-large seats are not effected by redistricting at all, and the two district seats – Ward 2 (Greg Harper) and Ward 3 (Elsa Ortiz) don’t appear to be changing much at all. The boundaries between Ward 2 and 3 will shift by a few blocks, and the same will happen between 3 and 4. So chances are that no matter which proposal is picked (and there may be a compromise between the two), your director will not change.

As for BART, even though they’re starting to hold community meetings this week, I could not find proposed maps on their website. What I did find was a map that shows population stats by current districts, which suggests some of the districts will be changing significantly. Oakland currently has three representatives on the BART Board. In District 3, Bob Franklin represents Rockridge, Temescal, and parts of the Oakland hills. In District 7, Lynette Sweet represents West Oakland. And in District 4, Robert Raburn represents the vast majority of Oakland, from Broadway all the way through East Oakland. Continue reading

Yay! AC Transit is getting rid of my bus stop

17 Aug

In March, I wrote about the 30th Street northbound 51A bus stop that is the closest bus stop to my home. Though it is incredibly convenient to me, I almost never get off of the bus there because the stop is very redundant – there’s a stop half a block before it and another a block before that one. Those two stops are heavily used but my sad bus stop is only sparsely used. Since I know that the bus pulling over just for me to get off adds time to its trip, I get off a half block early and walk.

I wrote in that post that I wanted AC Transit to get rid of the stop:

Why? Well, a couple years back AC Transit did a thorough study on the 51 line. They found that the 51 was so slow because it spends only 50% of its time actually moving, while 20% is spent in dwell time (stopped at a bus stop) and 30% is spent in delays (i.e. stuck in traffic). As I wrote back in 2009, one of the major causes of delay is bus stop spacing:

If you’ve ridden the 51, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the bus stops are incredibly close together. It seems that every time I take it down Broadway, we stop at every block, which of course takes forever and makes me crazy. According to ACT, the ideal amount of space between bus stops is 800-1300 feet, yet on the 51 line, 87 bus stops (more than half of the stops) are less than 800 feet from the next stop. This slows the whole route down because pulling over, picking up passengers, and getting back into traffic at all of these stops takes a long time.

So you can imagine how happy I was when on my way home from work yesterday I saw this: Continue reading

AC Transit Meeting: Redistricting, bus shelters & 51A/51B turnaround

22 Jul

When I watch local meetings live, I generally tweet them so those who are interested can follow what’s happening. But besides Council meetings and occasionally Planning Commission meetings, I listen to most meetings after they’ve already happened. I’m often tempted to tweet these meetings, but I think it could be incredibly confusing, so I’ve never done it. Sometimes I’ll write entire blog posts about one of the things that happened at a meeting, but I usually don’t take the time to share most of what I’ve learned on this blog.

So I’ve decided to try out a new format here – a brief roundup of local meetings. I’m going to start out with last week’s AC Transit meeting, which I listened to earlier this week. I’d greatly appreciate feedback with this format. If readers like it, I’ll do these as much as I can, but if you don’t find them useful, I’d like to hear whether you just don’t want to know about meetings unless something really exciting happens or if you have thoughts on a different format that might be more useful.

On to the meeting… Continue reading

AC Transit fiscal and talking bus emergencies averted!

26 May

It seems so rare lately to get good news about transit, particularly in relation to transit finances, but this week I got two very exciting emails from AC Transit. One was a press release announcing that the district’s finances were in much better shape than had been expected so the hearing on declaring fiscal a emergency had been canceled. The other was an email to riders about the automatic talking bus announcements (don’t worry, they’re not adding more). Continue reading

Next time you board a bus, it might tell you what to do

19 May

Yesterday, I was riding the 51 bus to work and was a bit jarred by a recording played on the bus. I’m quite used to “talking” buses. Many of the trunk lines now announce major destinations and have been doing so for quite some time. But this message did not announce the intersection we were arriving at.

It was a security message, telling passengers to be aware of their surroundings and to report any suspicious things or activities. It made me feel like I was at an airport, or in a BART station.

I could tell it threw the other passengers off a bit too, maybe simply because it was the first time we’d heard it. People looked around a bit and several of us with headphones on had taken them off to listen to the message. It’s one thing to hear a message in a BART station, while you’re waiting for a train, but it felt much more intrusive while riding a bus. Continue reading

Another chance to weigh in on AC Transit’s fare changes

26 Apr

Tomorrow (Wednesday) evening, AC Transit will be holding another hearing on “fare changes and policies,” which mostly means fare increases, but with some policy changes that would reduce overall fares for some riders.

Why is AC Transit considering fare increases? Well, I think we all know AC Transit has been in financial trouble for quite some time, due to reduced state funding, little federal operations funding, increased gas costs, and increased health care and pension costs. But beyond that, the overall fare policies haven’t been reviewed as a whole for quite some time so staff and the Board decided to engage in this process. From AC Transit’s website: Continue reading

Check out the Freedom Bus this Friday night

22 Mar

Have you heard about the Freedom Bus Project? It’s a collaboration between AC Transit and the Alameda County Office of Education that aims to celebrate the 55th Anniversary of Rosa Parks’ historic bus ride in Montgomery, Alabama via an art competition for students. The winners of the art competition will have their art displayed, not in a museum or a government building, but on buses!

From the press release:

Elementary, middle and high school students in the AC Transit service district, which spans Alameda County and West Contra Costa County, have submitted social justice-themed artwork to be considered for the Freedom Bus Project’s mobile art exhibit. Starting in April, four of the winning entries will be displayed in over 200 buses in the AC Transit fleet, allowing AC Transit riders to participate in the Freedom Bus Project. The mobile art exhibit will be on display until April 30, 2011.

Continue reading

AC Transit – please, get rid of my bus stop

2 Mar

I’m sure AC Transit board members and staff get all sorts of requests. Riders ask for lower fares, longer hours, more frequent service, and better buses. Some people who aren’t as fond of buses ask AC Transit to stop running buses in their neighborhoods (yes, a North Berkeley group does this). People ask for bus stops to be moved to be more convenient. But my guess is that AC Transit receives few requests like mine, as I want AC Transit to get rid of my bus stop on the 51A line.

Yes, I would like to walk further from the bus to get to my home. Continue reading

Transit Thursday – two important meetings on transit & bike/ped issues

16 Feb

If you’re interested in transit, bicycle, or pedestrian issues, there are two important meetings you should attend tomorrow (Thursday) night – the AC Transit special hearing on fares and the monthly Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). Continue reading

Bob Allen: It’s time for Elected Officials to Stand with AC Transit Bus Riders

9 Nov

This guest post was written by Bob Allen,  the Director of the Transportation Justice Program at the regional environmental justice organization Urban Habitat.

Many people are probably already quite aware of the dire situation AC Transit finds itself in: a $56 million budget deficit and slashing vital public transit service for those who need it most. In March, AC Transit cut approximately 7.5% of its service and recently another 7.5% on October 31st.  Planned cuts of another 6% of service are scheduled for December which could mean roughly half of all weekend service eliminated completely and two-thirds of owl/overnighter service eliminated completely. This will bring service to its lowest levels in 30 years.

Or maybe you’re not aware of this. Not unless you rely on the bus to get to school (as tens of thousands of kids in Oakland do), or to get to work as thousands of people do every day or if you’re a senior citizen or person with disabilities trying to get to a medical appointment. However, you might be aware of and read headlines about the recent efforts of the region’s elected officials and agencies, like the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), to secure funding for a project – the Oakland Airport Connector – with ridership of several thousand daily riders , many of them from outside the Bay Area, versus the over 230,000 daily riders of AC Transit that face drastically declining service.

When BART lost $70 million in federal ARRA stimulus funds (because of its violation of Federal Transit Administration Civil Rights procedures) to complete its three-mile Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) boondoggle, elected officials from Oakland, Alameda County and Congress all pitched in and found the money. Now bus riders, transit workers and advocates are asking, “who will fight for AC Transit and its riders?”

On Tuesday November 9th at 5:15pm AC Transit bus riders and their allies will be joined by Alameda County Supervisors Keith Carson and Supervisor Nate Miley, Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and other elected officials at 14th and Broadway in Oakland. The rally will launch a campaign that aims to raise sufficient and sustainable funds to return AC Transit to its pre-2010 service levels.  Bus riders will be asking elected officials, from the local to the Congressional level, to join them and fight for AC Transit just like they fought for BART’s Oakland Airport passengers.

Among the OAC’s top supporters were Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and City Council member Larry Reid, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, Alameda County Transportation Commission Chair Mark Green, State Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee and Senator Dianne Feinstein.  These elected officials stepped in and helped find and swap funding at the federal, state and local level.  Bus riders are asking for the same treatment for AC Transit.

With the upcoming Federal Transportation Bill reauthorization, the development of the Alameda Countywide Transportation Plan, the reauthorization of Alameda County’s Measure B sales tax and MTC’s Regional Transportation Plan there are plenty of opportunities to increase AC Transit’s funding to reverse its cuts and protect its service for the long-term. The reported results of contract arbitration between AC Transit management and ATU Local 192 may bring some relief for riders but only at the cost of squeezing concessions from the workers who put AC Transit service on the streets. But the real solution is political leadership that secures stable and dedicated operations funding in order to provide this essential public service. AC Transit riders have been waiting for others to join their fight – how much longer will their political leaders make them wait?

Please join us today!

WHAT: Rally to Kick-off AC Transit Accountability Campaign
WHEN: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 at 5:15pm
WHERE: Corner of 14th Street and Broadway, Oakland, California 94612 (in front of the Walgreens)
WHO: Supervisors Keith Carson and Nate Miley, Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington and members of ACCE, Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (BOSS), Center for Progressive Action, Genesis (an affiliate of the Transportation Equity Network), Public Advocates, Richmond Progressive Alliance, United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County, and Urban Habitat