AC Transit adjusts service for commuters

Riders board an AC Transit bus Friday morning on San Pablo Avenue across the street from the closed El Cerrito del Norte BART station. (Photo by Mark Andrew Boyer)

Riders board an AC Transit bus Friday morning on San Pablo Avenue across the street from the closed El Cerrito del Norte BART station. (Photo by Mark Andrew Boyer)

In the midst of a BART Strike, AC Transit is modifying its service to try to accommodate the influx of commuters.

“We’re going to provide as many extra buses as we can in terms of the buses available and operators available,” said Clarence Johnson, AC Transit spokesperson.

AC Transit is also setting up interim bus stops, and stops inside BART stations have temporarily been moved to nearby streets. The change has caused confusion for some commuters.

Elizabeth Creech, 27, a manager at Hilltop Mall’s J.C. Penney, was rushing from the El Cerrito del Norte BART station toward Cutting Boulevard this morning to find her bus. “Normally, I take [BART] from downtown Berkeley to El Cerrito del Norte, and then catch the WestCAT. But today I had to take two buses to get here, and then take my normal route,” she said.

Creech was having a hard time finding her bus stop, which was moved due to the strike. “They’re saying that no buses can come on BART grounds, we have to figure out other streets that they’re having us go to.”

“Oh my goodness,” Richmond resident Renetia Voltaire said with disgust as she discovered that buses wouldn’t be using their normal stops inside the del Norte BART station.

“I had to catch four buses this morning,” she said. Voltaire had just finished working the night shift doing elderly home care in San Francisco. She got off work at 8 a.m., and was still on her way home two hours later. “Now I have to catch another bus to get from here to home…this has just been a disaster.”

In Oakland, the West Grand Avenue approach to the Bay Bridge was converted into temporary High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in order to speed up access to the Bay Bridge, according to AC Transit’s website.

This means only buses, carpoolers and commercial trucks with six or more wheels can get on the highway from West Grand for the duration of the strike. All other motorists should avoid West Grand Avenue and those who fail to do so will be cited and diverted back to eastbound I-580.

Some bus routes have been rerouted around the West Grand Avenue HOV lanes so passengers should consult AC Transit’s website for scheduling and routing updates.

Passengers are advised to pay with Clipper Cards, bring exact change, and leave a half hour earlier than usual to make it to their destinations on time.

AC Transit has extended their Customer Service Call Center’s weekday hours to 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and added additional agents for calls. (Weekend hours remain the same as before the strike: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

 

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