Riders who depend on AC Transit bus service in the East Bay will see fewer bus runs and extensive service changes when they go into effect Sunday.
The service changes affect every community and nearly every bus route — from Richmond to Fremont — in the agency’s service area.
AC Transit faces a $50 million budget deficit in the coming fiscal year.
The agency has frozen hiring, cut costs across the board, and will implement a slew of service cuts that will reduce bus service in the East Bay by 8.4 percent.
AC Transit officials said they recognize the magnitude of the service changes — considered among the most drastic in the agency’s 60-year history.
The agency’s board of directors lengthened the time period for which transfers are valid from 90 minutes to 2 hours in anticipation of longer passenger wait times due to the cuts.
Many bus routes that have served East Bay neighborhoods since the agency’s founding in 1960 will be changed, renumbered or canceled entirely.
AC Transit cautioned riders of the cuts that “getting familiar with them will take some time and effort.”
The heavily-used 51-Broadway route, which connects Alameda to Berkeley via busy Broadway St. and College Ave. will be divided at the Rockridge BART Station into two routes. Riders who had previously been able to ride through from Oakland into Berkeley will not need to transfer from the new 51A route to the 51B route to continue the trip.
The 9-Ashby route, which provided a circulator service for Berkeley neighborhoods, will be axed. A combination of new and existing routes will provide service along the old 9-line route.
In East Oakland, the Line 50 bus will be divided into four segments, with new or existing routes covering the former bus line’s route.
Service in some of Alameda and Contra Costa County suburbs will be reduced and reshaped entirely.
In San Leandro and Hayward, there will be complete reconfigurations of bus lines that have, for decades, provided public transit service to tract developments and BART stations.
Many of those routes will be replaced with community-focused “loop” lines connecting community centers, shopping centers and BART stations with neighborhoods.
Cuts will also come to riders in Fremont and Union City where service frequencies will be reduced, and some routes will be scrapped altogether.
Transbay riders may have to wait longer for buses to and from the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco. Early afternoon and late evening trips on nearly all lettered Transbay routes will be slashed. One line, the SA line serving San Leandro and San Lorenzo, will be discontinued and folded into a revised S-line.