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AC Transit Deficit will Result in the Reduction of Services

By Erica Madison

AC Transit’s $57 million deficit has resulted in their decision to cut transit service by 15 percent in the Bay Area, including the City of Alameda.

To help guide their decision on what to cut, AC Transit held a series of workshops in May 2009. The workshops provided the opportunity for the public to express their concerns on what was going to be cut.

With the help of the Public Works department, AC transit proposed cutting a few service lines at the Sept.1 2009 City Council meeting. The company plans on cutting Line 19 which runs through Atlantic Avenue, east of Challenger Drive/Buena Vista Avenue. The Company estimates, that Line 19 picks up 409 passengers a day.

Instead of leaving these 409 people stranded, Line 51, which goes to the Fruitvale Bart Station, will be extended. This line was chosen because it is the most frequently used line. Also, since Alameda doesn’t have it’s own BART Station, a direct link to BART is important.

AC Transit is also cutting Line 50, and is not offering a replacement or adjustment. Line 50 runs through the Harbor Bay Parkway, which has an employee shuttle service that runs to the Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal, and the Coliseum Bart in Oakland.

“The Harbor Bay contracts with a private business for service to the airport. Was this part of the reason they (AC Transit) discontinued service the airport?”, asked Council member Lena Tam.

An AC Transit representative confirmed her suspicion, stating that the service line to the Harbor Bay Parkway has been dying a slow death.

Although the Public Works department has agreed to AC Transits proposed cuts, they have proposed their own changes as well.

For instance, the Public Works department has asked the company to create additional resources for Encinal High School, the Alameda Learning Center and Island High School, once they close the Line 63, which provides transportation to these institutions.

Although the Public Works department is happy with how AC Transit has handled its service cuts, Mayor Beverly Johnson was not.

“We’re taking a lot of our BART service away.” said Mayor Beverly Johnson.

Unfortunately the AC Transit representative could not offer a better solution.

“Our (AC Transit) first policy is to do the least amount of harm, to the greatest amount of people.” Said an AC Transit representative.

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