AC Transit

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AC Transit
ACTransit collage.jpg
A collage of AC Transit's buses
Founded 1960
Headquarters 1600 Franklin St,
Oakland, CA
Locale East Bay
Service area Western Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
Service type bus service
Routes 175[1]
Stops approx. 6,500
Fleet 674[2]
Daily ridership 236,000[2]
Operator Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District
Chief executive David J. Armijo

AC Transit (Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District) is an Oakland-based public transit agency serving the western portions of Alameda and Contra Costa counties in the East Bay portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. AC Transit also operates "Transbay" routes across San Francisco Bay to San Francisco and selected areas in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

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 or under the control of Alameda or Contra Costa counties or any local jurisdictions.

Buses operate out of three operating divisions: Emeryville, East Oakland (Seminary), and Hayward. Central Dispatch is located in Emeryville.[2] The Richmond operating division closed in 2011.[3]

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

Service area[edit]

The District encompasses the following cities and unincorporated areas: Oakland, Fremont, Hayward, Berkeley, Richmond, San Leandro, Alameda, Castro Valley, Newark, San Pablo, El Cerrito, San Lorenzo, Ashland, Albany, Cherryland, El Sobrante, Piedmont, Fairview, Emeryville, 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 (VTA), San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni), Golden Gate Transit, the Alameda-Oakland Ferry, the Harbor Bay Ferry, and Emery Go Round.

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 San Mateo and Dumbarton bridges to the south.


AC Transit's primary hubs include BART stations, major shopping centers, and points of interest, which are spread throughout the East Bay. Most route serve and/or terminate at BART stations, providing convenience for transit users. The hubs include:


Fares and transfer policies[edit]

AC Transit buses at Bay Fair BART Station.

See also AC Transit's page on fares and passes or AC Transit's page on bus fares.

AC Transit fares are structured to promote the use of Clipper. Not only are local bus rides cheaper, but certain interagency transfers and day passes are easier to obtain and handle when using a Clipper card. Monthly passes are only available on Clipper.


Cash Fares Local Single Ride Local Day Pass1 Transbay Single Ride
Adult $2.10 $5.00 $4.20
Youth (5-18) $1.05 $2.50 $2.10
Senior (65+), disabled (Handicapped/disabled access), and Medicare $1.05 $2.50 $2.10
Clipper Fares Local Single Ride Local Day Pass2 Transbay Single Ride3 Local Monthly Pass Transbay Monthly Pass
Adult $2.00 $5.00 $4.20 $75.00 $151.20
Youth (5-18) $1.00 $2.50 $2.10 $20.00 -
Senior (65+), disabled (Handicapped/disabled access), and Medicare $1.00 $2.50 $2.10 $20.004 -

Inter-Agency Transfers[edit]

Local BART-to-bus transfer: $0.25 cash discount to and from BART with paper transfer issued at BART. Applied as $0.50 Clipper discount on bus trip away from BART only.

To transfer from AC Transit to another bus agency without Clipper, ask your AC Transit bus driver for an “Inter-Agency Voucher”. To transfer from another bus agency to AC Transit without Clipper, ask the other bus driver for a transfer.[4]


  • All fares are in USD. Fares effective 1 July 2014. Children under 5 ride free.
  • 1 Issued upon request when full price is paid. Valid for unlimited local rides from time issued until 3:00 AM.
  • 2 Automatically applied on the third trip. Valid for unlimited local rides from time activated until 3:00 AM.
  • 3 Transbay-to-local transfer free and only available when using Clipper. Automatically applied on second bus when boarded within two hours. Also applies to local-to-transbay transfer.
  • 4 Senior & Disabled local monthly pass available on Clipper (Senior and RTC Discount cards) or as a sticker to affix on RTC Discount cards.


In 2003, the District introduced a San Mateo-Hayward Bridge route. Designated as Line M, the service connected the BART stations of Castro Valley and Hayward with Foster City and San Mateo's Hillsdale Caltrain station. A second San Mateo-Hayward Bridge route, Line MA, was added in 2006 and discontinued in 2007. (The M replaced the SamTrans 90E, which had been canceled in 1999.)

In 2003, a new "rapid bus" line operating on San Pablo Avenue was introduced. Designated as Line 72R (or San Pablo Rapid), the service connected Oakland with Richmond and operated at faster speeds than regular local service due to wide stop spacing and signal priority treatments.

In 2004, the District began service on Line U across the Dumbarton Bridge, connecting Stanford University with ACE and BART trains in Fremont. As part of a consortium of transit agencies including AC Transit, BART, SamTrans, Union City Transit, and VTA), the District already operated Dumbarton Express bus service across the Dumbarton Bridge.

Beginning 10 December 2005, AC Transit began participating in the regional All Nighter network, providing 24-hour bus service throughout its service area to supplement BART service, which does not operate during owl hours. AC Transit had provided 24-hour service on many of its trunk lines prior to this date, except in the late 1990s due to budget limitations.

On 30 July 2007, AC Transit announced that it had entered into a 25-year partnership with SunPower, MMA Renewable Ventures, and PG&E to install solar energy systems at its facilities in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, improve local air quality, and save money on energy costs that could be used instead to spend on transit service.[5]

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.[6]

On 28 March 2010, several major service changes were implemented to reduce a severe budget shortfall. Changes included reduced service on local and Transbay lines, elimination of unproductive routes, splitting of the 51 into two sections, and the introduction of limited-stop line 58L.[7][8]

Starting in February 2011, all buses on Line 376 were being escorted by a marked Contra Costa County Sheriff's patrol vehicle through the unincorporated community of North Richmond. Line 376 provides late-night service through North Richmond and the nearby cities of Richmond, San Pablo, and Pinole. The escorts were introduced to improve the safety of the service, which had five serious incidents between 5 January and 9 February.[9]

On December 13, 2013, AC Transit adopted a new fare policy that will bring changes to the transit system starting in July 2014, including a new day pass that will be in line with other transit agencies including VTA and SamTrans.[10]

Rapid Bus and Bus Rapid Transit[edit]

A rapid bus line was introduced on San Pablo Avenue on 23 June 2003. Designated as Line 72R (or San Pablo Rapid), it operates from 6 am to 7 pm at 12-minute intervals throughout the day. Bus stops are spaced 2/3-mile apart on average, running between Jack London Square in Oakland and Contra Costa College in Richmond, and buses receive signal priority at several intersections. The line does not have scheduled timepoints en route, and instead buses travel along the route as fast as traffic allows.

A second rapid bus line was introduced on 24 June 2007.[11][12] Line 1R (or International Rapid) operates on Telegraph Avenue and International Blvd. between Berkeley, Oakland, and San Leandro on weekdays. Weekend and holiday service operates between Oakland and San Leandro only.

The Line 1R corridor has been identified for replacement by a bus rapid transit line.[13]

Bus fleet[edit]

A Van Hool A330 series bus at Del Norte BART station.

AC Transit continued using the GM "old-look" transit buses of its predecessor, the Key System, when service first began. AC Transit soon ordered GM New Look buses and operated a mixed fleet throughout the 1960s.[citation needed] AC Transit pioneered the use of an articulated bus in the mid-1960s, operating the experimental GM XMC 77 bus primarily on Transbay service.[14]

AC Transit continued to purchase GM New Look buses through the early 1970s and also began purchasing Flxible New Look buses. No more GM or Flxible buses were purchased by the late 1970s, instead acquiring buses from Flyer, Neoplan, and Gillig through the 1980s. AC Transit also purchased buses from NABI in the late 1990s.[citation needed]

In 2003, AC Transit began purchasing low-floor buses from Van Hool. More recently, it also purchased new, custom-designed 30-foot buses from Van Hool.[15]

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. Vehicle locations on selected lines can be viewed from AC Transit's NextBus passenger information system.[16]

AC Transit has developed the most comprehensive fuel cell bus program in the United States.[17] Three hydrogen-powered buses, based on the Van Hool A330, operated in revenue service from 2006 to 2010. AC Transit began taking delivery of 12 new, third-generation fuel cell buses based on the Van Hool A300L in 2011.

AC Transit buses are wheelchair accessible and have front-mounted bicycle racks.

Current Fleet[2]
Year Manufacturer Model Length (feet) Quantity Fleet Series Fuel Propulsion Powertrain Image
1999 NABI 40-LFW 40 44 4001-4044 Diesel
2000 NABI 40-LFW 40 23 7201-7223 Diesel
  • Cummins ISM
  • Allison B400R
Marin 3 023.JPG
MCI D4500 45 30 6001-6030 AC Transit MCI commuter bus #6023 at the Temporary Transbay Transit Center, taken in July 2014.
2001 MCI D4500 45 10 6031-6040 Diesel
2003 MCI D4500 45 39 6041-6079 Diesel AC Transit Commuter MCI.png
NABI 40-LFW 40 46 4051-4090
  • Cummins ISL
  • Allison B400R
Van Hool A330 110 1001-1110
  • Cummins ISM
  • Voith D864.3E
Marin 3 019.JPG
AG300 60 57 2001-2057
  • Cummins ISM
  • Voith D864.3E
ACTrans 40l.JPG
2005 Van Hool A300FC 40 3 FC1-FC3 Hydrogen Marin3 006.JPG
2006 Van Hool A300K 30 50 5001-5050 Diesel
  • Cummins ISB
  • Voith D864.3E
AC Transit route 52l.jpg
2007 Van Hool AG300 60 10 2101-2110 Diesel
  • Cummins ISL
  • Voith D864.3E
60 15 2151-2165
  • Cummins ISM
  • Voith D864.3E
2008 Van Hool A300L 40 27 1201-1227 Diesel
  • Cummins ISL
  • Voith D864.5
A300K 30 1 5099 Diesel-electric hybrid
39 5101-5139 Diesel
  • Cummins ISB
  • Voith D854.5
2010 Van Hool AG300 60 9 2191-2199 Diesel
  • Cummins ISL
  • Voith D864.5
A300L FC 40 12 FC4-FC16 Hydrogen
2013 Gillig Low-floor Advantage 40 [18] 65 1301-1365 Diesel
  • Cummins ISL 280 HP [19]
  • Allison B400 6-speed
An image of an AC Transit bus taken at 20th and Broadway in Oakland. The bus is a standard-styled Gillig Low Floor Advantage bus, and was operating eastbound on the 58L local line.
New Flyer Xcelsior D60 60 [20] 23 2201-2223 Diesel
  • Cummins ISL 330 HP
  • Allison B400 6-speed
An image of an AC Transit bus taken at 20th and Broadway in Oakland in early February 2014. The bus is the New Flyer Excelsior D60, and was operating eastbound on the NL translbay line.
Gillig Low-floor Advantage 40 [21] 55 6101-6155 Diesel
  • Cummins ISL 280 HP
  • Allison B400 6-speed
An image of an AC Transit bus taken at the San Francisco Temporary Transbay Terminal in mid November 2013. The bus is the commuter-styled Gillig Low Floor Advantage bus with Wi-Fi, and was operating on the NL transbay line.
2014 Gillig Low-floor Advantage 40 - 1401-? Diesel
Retired Fleet
Years in Operation Manufacturer Model Length (feet) Quantity Fleet Series Fuel Propulsion Powertrain Image
1996 - 2013 New Flyer D60 60 (articulated) 30 1901-1930 Diesel
  • Detroit Diesel Series 50
  • Allison B400R
1998 - 2013/2014 NABI 416 40 133 3001-3067, 3101-3166* Diesel
  • Cummins M11E
  • Allison B400R

Notes: * = 3151 was destroyed due to an engine fire.

Most older AC Transit buses are not air-conditioned. However, in 2007 the District's board of directors voted to purchase new buses equipped with air conditioning.[22]


AC Transit is funded with a mix of federal, state, and local government subsidies.

In March 2004, voters throughout the San Francisco Bay Area approved Regional Measure 2, which funds regional transportation capital and operating programs through a US$1.00 surcharge on State-owned bridges operated by the BATA. (The Golden Gate Bridge is owned and operated by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.)[23]

In November 2004, voters approved Measure BB, which increased the parcel tax by US$48 annually for 10 years beginning 1 July 2005, to help fund AC Transit services.[24]

In April 2005, a federal class-action lawsuit was filed against the Metropolitan Transportation Commission alleging that it discriminates against AC Transit's primarily minority riders by giving AC Transit disproportionately less money than BART and Caltrain. AC Transit is not party to the lawsuit, and the court sided with MTC in 2009.[25]

In November 2008, voters approved Measure VV, which increased the parcel tax by US$48 annually for 10 years beginning 1 July 2009, to help fund AC Transit services. Measure VV also extended the US$48 parcel tax approved under Measure BB so a total US$96 annual tax is effective through 30 June 2019.[26]

Internet access[edit]

AC Transit also offers wireless internet on buses that serve Transbay lines.[27] These buses can be distinguished by their all-green livery, padded "commuter" seats, and Wi-Fi logos near the front entrance door and inside the bus.


External links[edit]