AC Transit

AC Transit

Infobox Public transit
name = Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District

locale = Oakland / East Bay, California
transit_type = Bus
began_operation = 1960
lines = 105
ridership = 215,000
operator = Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District

AC Transit (in full, Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District) is a regional bus agency serving parts of Alameda County and Contra Costa County in the western coastal area of the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, headquartered in Oakland. In addition, AC Transit runs "transbay" routes across San Francisco Bay to the city of San Francisco, and selected areas in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County.

AC Transit is constituted as a special district under California law. It is governed by seven elected members (five from geographic wards and two at-large). It is not a part of the Alameda or Contra Costa county governments, although the initials "AC" are often mistaken to mean "Alameda County."

The district is the public successor to the privately owned Key System.

In 2008 AC Transit sponsored the world's largest chalk drawing at the old Alameda Naval Base and provided free transportation for children to the site. [ AC Transit Sponsors World's Largest Chalk Drawing] , AC Transit External Affairs, June, 9th, 2008, access date July 21, 2008]

Bus service

The district encompasses the following cities and unincorporated areas:
San Leandro,
Castro Valley,
San Pablo,
El Cerrito,
San Lorenzo,
El Sobrante,
Kensington, and
East Richmond Heights. The district's bus lines also serve parts of some other East Bay communities, including Milpitas, Pinole, and Union City.

AC Transit serves many colleges and universities including the University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University; California State University, East Bay; Chabot College; Holy Names University; Peralta Colleges (Laney College, College of Alameda, Berkeley City College, and Merritt College), Contra Costa College; Ohlone College; and Mills College.

Most routes connect with regional train service, primarily BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), in addition to ACE and Amtrak, including (among other trains) the Capitol Corridor. AC Transit routes also connect with several other regional transit services, including Union City Transit, SamTrans, WestCAT, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, San Francisco Municipal Railway, Golden Gate Transit, the [ Alameda-Oakland Ferry] , the [ Harbor Bay Ferry] , and Emery Go Round.

AC Transit serves Oakland International Airport with lines [ 50] (most hours of the day and night) and [ 805] (1 a.m. to 5 a.m.).

While most AC Transit service consists of local lines throughout the East Bay, the district also provides many transbay lines. Most of these run across the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge to connect communities as distant as El Sobrante and Newark with San Francisco's Transbay Terminal (formerly the terminus of the Key System).

Bus service is also provided across the bridges to the south. In 2003, the district introduced a San Mateo-Hayward Bridge route, Line M, to connect the BART stations of Castro Valley and Hayward with Foster City and San Mateo's Hillsdale Boulevard Caltrain station. A second San Mateo-Hayward Bridge route, Line MA, was added in 2006 and discountiued in 2007. (The M replaced the SamTrans 90E, which had been sharply reduced in the mid-1990s and was canceled altogether in 1999.) Across the Dumbarton Bridge, AC Transit operates, under contract with a consortium of transit agencies (including AC Transit itself as well as BART, SamTrans, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and Union City Transit), the Dumbarton Express, a series of bus lines connecting the Union City BART station with East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Stanford University. Additionally, the district in 2004 began another Dumbarton Bridge route, Line U, a commute-hour service linking Stanford with ACE trains and the Fremont BART station.

In 2003, AC Transit created a new bus rapid transit line operating on San Pablo Avenue. Designated as Route 72R (or San Pablo Rapid), it runs between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. at a 12-minute frequency with stops 2/3 mile apart, running between Jack London Square and Contra Costa College. The line uses no timepoints and instead allows buses to travel along the route as fast as traffic allows. This supplements multiple stop routes 72 and 72M (renamed from 73). Following the success of this experiment, similar lines elsewhere in the region are being planned. The corridor between downtown Berkeley and Bay Fair BART on Telegraph Ave., International Blvd., and East 14th St. has been selected for expansion of this service on a new line. [ [ "Marketing & Community Relations Priorities Through December 2006," memo to AC Transit Board of Directors, April 19, 2006] ] Designated as Route 1R (or International Rapid), it was launced June 24, 2007 alongside a supplemented multiple stop Route 1, replacing heritage multiple and limited stop routes 40(L), 43 and 82(L). [ [ "Change Happens: June 24," AC Transit Marketing, May 15, 2007] ]

For years AC Transit provided 24-hour service on its trunk lines (except in the late 1990s due to budget cuts). Beginning December 10, 2005, the district began supplementing BART service, which does not run between midnight and 5 AM, by participating in the All-Nighter Network.

Route designations

AC Transit has several different divisions of bus line designations with different ranges of numbers for differently-purposed routes. In general, since its inception, AC Transit transbay lines have been lettered, and local lines have been numbered, some with letter suffixes attached. Many of these were inherited directly from the predecessor Key System, and in varying degrees, follow the original routes. The transbay letter designations originated as a means of distinguishing the Key System's transbay trains from those of the Southern Pacific's which were numbered.Fact|date=October 2007

AC Transit uses a number of suffixes – L for limited stops, R for Rapid (stop every ⅔ of a mile) service, and X for express (long distance and/or commuter service with long areas of no stops, notably freeways). Some routes have a variation that adds an additional length or loop in the route, and those trips are delineated with a different suffixed letter. Currently "A" and "M" are in use.

Local routes (1-99) also serve as "origins" of many route numbers in the hundreds. For example, a school line that follows much of the path of the 68 would usually be designated the 668. This pattern is used on a majority of 300, 600, and 800 series buses, but many have no corresponding regular route number. In lettered routes, numbered suffixes are sometimes used, such as NX3 for a variation of the NX line. Just because a certain range of numbers is reserved for a certain use does not mean that all the numbers/letters are in use.

*1-99 – Local service routes operating in the East Bay service area, largely outside Fremont and Newark.
*200-299 – Local service routes operating in the East Bay service area, primarily in Fremont and Newark.
*300-399 – Special service routes. These include late-night service, event service (i.e. seasonal service to the Golden Gate Fields horse racing track), and shuttle service between shopping malls and train stations. Many of these routes also operate only one or two days a week, or only during the morning or evening. Some, such as the 376, combine the popular segments of several routes and run after those routes cease running for the day since running the full lines would not attract sufficient passengers.
*600-699 – Lines serving public and private schools, including high schools, middle/junior high schools, and some elementary schools. These lines operate on school days only and are open to all riders at regular fares.
*800-899 – Lines that are part of the All-Nighter Network.
*A-Z – Transbay lines: lines that cross the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge, the San Mateo Bridge, or the Dumbarton Bridge connecting the East Bay with San Francisco, San Mateo, and Palo Alto, respectively. All Transbay routes are lettered, with the 800 being the sole exception.


See also [ AC Transit's page on fares] .


*†Transbay transfers are also good for local-to-transbay transfers with payment of transbay fare on the first bus.
*‡Montly passes of any kind, senior/disabled fares, and any transfers are not valid on line 304.

AC Transit participates in TransLink, a regional smart card fare collection system. [ [ Where To Use TransLink], retrieved April 26, 2007]


At first, AC Transit utilized the buses of its predecessor, the Key System. Virtually all of these buses were made by General Motors in the 1950s. AC Transit soon ordered newer GM buses made in the early 1960s. Throughout the 1960s, AC Transit used both the old and new GM buses (referred to as "GM old look" and "GM new look" buses). In the mid-1960s, AC Transit pioneered the use of an articulated bus, operating the experimental GM bus "XMC 77", primarily on the "N" MacArthur Blvd.-San Francisco line. The "old look" buses continued to see daily service well into the 1970's and finally retired around 1976 or so.

AC Transit continued to purchase GM "new look" buses through the early 1970s, but also began purchasing buses from rival manufacturer Flxible. By the late 1970's, no more GM buses were added (AC Transit has never ordered an RTS vehicle, GM's successor to the "new look" coaches, which saw widespread use elsewhere around the USA, notably in Los Angeles, New York City and Phoenix). Instead, additions from Flyer and Gillig were made throughout the 1980s.

In 2003, AC Transit switched to new low-floor buses from Van Hool, purchasing A330 40-foot and AG300 60-foot articulated buses. More recently, it also purchased a number of new, custom-designed 30-foot buses for its neighborhood routes, called the Van Hool A300K.AC Transit news release [ announcing the launch] of their new 30-foot bus] . Significant rider criticism followed the launch of these vehicles, claiming among other things a harsh ride, insufficient call buttons, obstructed rider views, and poor seating options for seniors. Commentary: AC Transit’s Obsession With Van Hool Busses, Berkeley Daily Planet, 02-27-07 [] ] These new buses have however been criticized by rider advocates for being dangerous for disabled and senior passengers. [ AC Transit does 180 on buses] , by Eric N. Nelson, "Oakland Tribune", June 26, 2008, access date July 22, 2008] The complaints that the buses made it very easy to slip and fall led to board of directors to not approve an order of 19 new buses that cost 574,000 dollars each; in addition to complaints regarding the no bid process of vehicle acquisition.

Starting in 2003 AC Transit added satellite tracking units on all vehicles. The GPS tracking units fix the position of the vehicle, and a private radio network sends updates to headquarters every 3 to 16 minutes. Vehicles on selected lines can be viewed from AC Transit's NextBus passenger information system.

AC Transit also is a worldwide leader in implementing new, environmentally-friendly technologies. Three hydrogen-powered buses, based on the 40-foot A330 bus (see above), currently operate on the 50 and 57 bus lines to test their real-world feasibility and reliability. [AC Transit's [ HyRoad program] ] In addition, the agency plans on purchasing up to 10 hybrid-diesel buses based on its new 30-foot bus.

All AC Transit buses in active service are accessible to passengers in wheelchairs.

A detailed list of vehicles:

* Van Hool A330 40-foot
* Van Hool AG300 60-foot articulated
* Van Hool A300K 30-foot
* Van Hool A300K 30-foot hybrid
* New Flyer Industries D60 articulated
* NABI 40-foot LFW
* NABI 40-foot
* Motor Coach Industries D4500
* General Motors Diesel Division Buses T6H 5307N (historic fleet)

Perhaps because of the relatively cool summertime climate of the Bay Area (compared to other regions of California and the US), most AC Transit vehicles are not air-conditioned. However, in 2007 the district's board of directors voted to purchase air conditioning when buying new buses. []


As with almost all U.S. transit services, service is government-subsidized. In 2003, AC Transit responded to budget cuts in California by reducing and eliminating many bus routes.

In 2004 voters in the AC Transit district, along with voters in other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area approved Regional Measure 2, which provides regional transportation projects (including AC Transit) with $125 million of additional yearly revenues. Additionally, 2/3 of the voters approved Measure BB, a parcel tax specifically supporting AC Transit.

In April 2005, a [ class action law suit] was filed against the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The plaintiffs alleged that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission was discriminating against AC Transit's primarily minority ridership by giving AC Transit disproportionately less money than BART and Caltrain. However, AC Transit is not party to the law suit.

Internet access

AC Transit and its partner EcoNetwork offer [] , which offers Internet access via dial-up access and digital subscriber line. AC Transit also offers wireless internet on some buses that serve Transbay lines. [ [ The Daily Californian ] ]

olar Energy

On July 30, 2007 AC Transit announced that it had entered into a 25-year long partnership with Sun Power Corporation, MMA Renewable Ventures, and Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) to install solar energy systems at all its facilities in efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, better air quality of the immediate area, and save up to US$ 15,000 per year in energy costs which would add up to millions of dollars it will save and spend on transit service instead. [ [ AC Transit Turns on Solar Power] , AC Transit External Affairs, July 30, 2007, retrieved July 31 2007]

West County Service Plan

In June 2007, after engaging with the community for feedback with public hearings, AC Transit implemented the West Contra Costa County Service Plan which realigned existing service finds to reroute portions of certain lines, eliminate service to areas with low ridership, and replace service in some areas with service from a different route providing direct service to areas previously requiring tedious transfers. Furthermore, a great effort was made to provide a better transfer at Richmond Station as well as the Richmond Parkway Transit Center. The changes are covered by Phase I and use no new monies which would be required to completely implement the plan: Phase II. Phase II will use Regional Measure J funds to expand service providing lines along corridors which are undeserved or not served, and increasing hours and decreasing headways. Two of the greatest changes will be extending BRT service (the "bus rapid transit" service provided by the 72R route, discussed above) to Richmond Parkway Transit Center and providing service along the Ohio Avenue corridor. These changes have effected the northern neighborhoods of the city of Richmond and the adjacent communities of El Sobrante and San Pablo the most. Phase I was originally supposed to be implemented in late 2006, but the implementation has been delayed until June 2007. Phase II has a target date of mid-2008. [ [ New Date: Upcoming Service Changes] , AC Transit Marketing, March 15, 2007, retrieved June 7, 2007] [ [ AC Transit Service Changes] , retrieved June 7, 2007] [ [ West County Service Plan Community and Drivers Input (PDFs)] , retrieved June 7, 2007] [ [ West Contra Costa County Service Plan (PDFs)] , retrieved June 7, 2007]


External links

* [ AC Transit] - Official website
* [ NextBus arrivals]
* AC Transit info at [ Local] , [ Transbay]
* [ AC Transit web page about Van Hool buses]
* [ List of AC Transit routes and descriptions]

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