A collage of AC Transit's buses
|Headquarters||1600 Franklin St,
|Service area||Western Alameda and Contra Costa Counties|
|Service type||bus service|
|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.
The District is the public successor to the privately owned Key System.
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
|Fare category||Local cash||Transbay cash||Local 31-day pass†||Transbay 31-day pass†|
|Youth (5-18)||US$1.05||US$2.10||US$20||Not available|
|Senior (65+), disabled (), and Medicare||US$1.05||US$2.10||US$20‡||Not available|
- † 31-day passes are available only with Clipper.
- ‡ This is the price per calendar month. Also available as a sticker on the Regional Transit Connection discount card.
All transfers are issued at the time of initial fare payment, and are valid for one use within two hours.
|Transfer type||Adult||Youth (5-18)||Senior (65+), disabled (), and Medicare|
|Local bus to local bus||Add US$0.25||Add US$0.25||Add US$0.25|
|Transbay bus to local bus, and vice versa†||Free||Free||Free|
|BART to local bus (with transfer issued inside BART station)‡||Add US$1.85||Add US$0.80||Add US$0.80|
|Golden Gate Transit (Routes 40 and 42 only) to local bus (with transfer issued aboard Golden Gate Transit)‡||Free||Free||Free|
|Union City Transit to local bus (with transfer issued aboard Union City Transit)||Free||Free||Free|
|Amtrak (Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin trains only) to local bus (with transfer issued aboard Amtrak)||Free||Free||Free|
- † Transfers from local buses to Transbay buses are issued only with payment of full Transbay fare on the first bus.
- ‡ Transfers from BART and Golden Gate Transit are calculated automatically when using Clipper.
|This section requires expansion with: cited historical information. (March 2011)|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rapid Bus and Bus Rapid Transit
|This section requires expansion with: additional BRT information. (March 2011)|
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. 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.
AC Transit utilized 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. AC Transit pioneered the use of an articulated bus in the mid-1960s, operating the experimental GM XMC 77 bus primarily on Transbay service.
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.
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.
AC Transit has developed the most comprehensive fuel cell bus program in the United States. 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. Buses in active service:
|Year||Manufacturer||Model||Length (feet)||Quantity||Fleet Series||Fuel Propulsion||Powertrain||Image|
|1996||New Flyer||D60||60 (articulated)||30||1901-1930*||Diesel||
|2013||Gillig||Low-floor Advantage||40 ||65||1301-1365||Diesel||
|New Flyer||Xcelsior D60||60 ||23||2201-2223||Diesel||
|Gillig||Low-floor Advantage||40 ||55||6101-6155||Diesel||
Notes: * = some buses have been retired; NA = not available; TBD = to be determined.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
AC Transit and its partner EcoNetwork offer RideAC.org, 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.
- AC Transit Bus Line Descriptions
- Ridership, Bus Fleet and Service
- AC Transit cuts costs to balance budget
- AC Transit Turns on Solar Power, AC Transit External Affairs, 30 July 2007, retrieved 31 July 2007
- AC Transit Sponsors World's Largest Chalk Drawing, AC Transit External Affairs, 9 June 2008, accessed 21 July 2008
- Service Changes Set for March 28
- Detailed List of Service Changes
- North Richmond bus line gets police escort. Ted Trautman. Richmond Confidential. 24-02-2011. Retrieved 06-03-2011.
- Board Adopts New & Improved Fare Policy. AC Transit. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "Marketing & Community Relations Priorities Through December 2006," memo to AC Transit Board of Directors, 19 April 2006
- "Change Happens: June 24," AC Transit Marketing, 15 May 2007
- AC Transit Planning Focus: Your Guide to Bus Rapid Transit
- Photo of AC Transit XMC 77 at the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco, California, circa 1965
- AC Transit news release announcing the launch of their new 30-foot bus
- AC Transit NextBus Stop Selector
- The HyRoad
- A Better Ride on AC Transit’s Newest Buses
- Fleet Specifications
- The New Flyers Are Here!
- New Commuter Buses Launch November 8
- Installation of air conditioning on buses
- The Daily Californian
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to AC Transit.|
- Official website
- NextBus arrivals
- AC Transit info at transit.511.org: Local, Transbay
- AC Transit web page about Van Hool buses
- List of AC Transit routes and descriptions