AC Transit ‘Realign’ Campaign Proposing Significant Changes to Emeryville Bus Service

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AC Transit is in the final stretch of gathering public input on a possible redesign of the agency’s bus network. Their “Realign” planning project seeks to redraw the agency’s routes to meet changing ridership patterns.

The Realign project began collecting input back in March and will conclude on December 13th.

During a presentation at the Nov. 21 Emeryville City Council meeting [Replay above at 2:00:30], Ryan Lau, the transit agency’s external affairs representative, presented many trends that have impacted ridership over the last few years, including an aging population, fewer young riders, increased demand in lower-income areas, a more diverse ridership group, and a significant drop in ridership in traditional job centers.

In September, the agency released three possible future service scenarios to solicit feedback and says they have been using equity, reliability, and frequency as guiding review principles. We broke down the changes that could affect AC Transit’s service in Emeryville if these scenarios were put into effect:

Current Service (Source: AC Transit)

List of AC Transit bus lines that currently service Emeryville:

  • 7-Arlington
  • 29-Hollis
  • 36-Dwight
  • 57-40th Street
  • 72-Hilltop/72R-San Pablo Rapid/72M-MacDonald
  • F-Transbay
  • J-Transbay
  • 802-San Pablo All Nighter

The Balanced Coverage Scenario

Balanced Coverage Scenario (Source: AC Transit)

The Balanced Coverage scenario keeps today’s balance between ridership growth and network coverage throughout our system. It simplifies routes to improve reliability and shorten travel times.

7-Arlington replaced by B27 along Hollis: Existing 7 service would bypass the UC Berkeley campus and College Ave., as well as Russel St. to Hollis St., in favor of a direct route down Shattuck Ave. to Adeline St. The 7 would then turn down Stanford Ave. and terminate at the Emeryville Amtrak Station. 

29-Hollis: Northern terminus would move to 65th Street to Rockridge BART, via Alcatraz St. and College Ave. as a new extension of the route.

72-San Pablo: The northern terminus would move to Contra Costa College, and an unknown number of stops along San Pablo Ave. would be eliminated, with the frequency of service increased.

72M-San Pablo: The route would remain the same but an unknown number of stops along San Pablo Ave. would be eliminated, with increased service frequency.

All other lines – No changes

Frequent Service Scenario

Frequent Service Scenario (Source: AC Transit)

The Frequent Service scenario maximizes ridership growth by focusing service in the highest-demand areas. By reducing service on lesser-used bus lines, the agency would provide weekday service that operates every 30 minutes in the highest-demand areas.

This scenario mirrors all changes (or no changes) listed under the “Balanced Coverage” scenario.

Unconstrained Vision Scenario

Unconstrained Vision Scenario (Source: AC Transit)

The Unconstrained Vision scenario presents a vision of what could be achieved with additional resources, offering a long-term vision for AC Transit’s future. It involves a substantial increase in both service frequency and coverage.

Mirrors all changes (or no changes) listed under the “Balanced Service” scenario, except for:

  • U80 (new service) would run from Emeryville Amtrak to El Cerrito Plaza BART via West Berkeley, providing service to one of the transit deficient areas along the Eastshore identified in a 2015 study.
  • UA (new Transbay service) would open up to the public an existing Emeryville Amtrak to Salesforce Transit Center (SF) service that is currently exclusive only to Amtrak passengers (30-minute frequency)
  • UF (revised existing Transbay service) would cut out the existing F-transbay’s route through North Oakland and 40th Street, in favor of routing via Adeline St., Stanford Ave., and Powell St. (See U53)
  • U53 (new local service) would replace the local portion of the existing F line through 40th St. and North Oakland., connecting Emeryville with UC Berkeley.

The most intriguing change of any of these scenarios involves the UF and UA routes, which would significantly alter service on the existing F-Transbay line.  

Instead of servicing 40th St. and Shellmound St., the UF would use westbound Powell St. to a new transit-only left turn lane under the I-80/Powell St. interchange, connecting with an existing half-mile ramp that runs alongside McLaughlin State Park into the MacArthur Maze. The UA could also enjoy the use of this same transit-only lane. A separate project would connect the end of this on-ramp ramp to a new HOV-only right lane at the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission Spokesperson, John Goodwin, says that the transit-only turn lane/on-ramp project could start construction as early as September 2024, with completion as early as March 2025. 

We estimate the new turn lane for transit buses could shave 5 to 15 minutes on a weekday morning commute in the heaviest traffic conditions by allowing buses to bypass queued traffic at the I-80/Frontage Road entrance to Westbound I-80 across from 2100 Powell St.

AC Transit will host a remote community workshop via Zoom on Thursday, December 7 at 6 p.m.

Visit actransit.org/realign for more information or to submit your comments.

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Bobby Lee

is a Bay Area native who’s lived in the Christie Core Neighborhood since 2010, Bobby enjoys exploring the far corners of our region, trying the newest restaurants in the area, or relaxing to 80's era television sitcoms and game shows. For the past six years, he's hosted a web video series called 2 Minute Finance teaching basic money management and consumer education.

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