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AC Transit Proposes Major Changes to Alameda Bus Lines

AC Transit has now moved into Phase 4 of its “Realign” service planning effort, which aims to redesign the agency’s route network to reflect post-pandemic travel patterns and align with current budget and operator resources and constraints.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, January 24, the AC Transit Board of Directors voted to postpone “Realign” implementation until 2025. Consideration of the changes described below are on hold pending potential revisions.

Alameda Post - an AC transit bus
In a significant change, Line 51A would be replaced by an extended Line 6 in Alameda, offering a one-seat ride between Alameda and Downtown Berkeley via Telegraph Avenue. Photo Ken Der.

Phase 4 presents a “Draft Final Service Plan” for community input and eventual implementation in August 2024. It builds upon extensive public feedback collected during Phase 3 on whether riders preferred a “Balanced Coverage” scenario that would maintain existing network coverage or a “Frequent Service” scenario that would increase service on the agency’s most productive routes at the expense of low-ridership lines.



According to an AC Transit staff report, most riders who provided feedback online or at one of many community meetings last fall felt “coverage was not an acceptable tradeoff in most cases and that reliability improvements were also necessary.” As a result, the agency has updated its proposals during Phase 4 to redistribute resources to retain service originally considered for elimination, focusing specifically on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, the Berkeley Hills, and Central Alameda County.

Alameda Post - the proposed AC Transit route network map
AC Transit route network in Northern Alameda County proposed under Phase 4. AC Transit map.

The list below highlights the changes now proposed for routes serving the City of Alameda—information on other routes in the AC Transit service area can be found on the “Realign” website. Note that AC Transit has added the placeholder prefix “DA” to each line number to denote the current “Draft Alternative” Phase 4 scenario.

  • Line 6, which currently operates between Downtown Berkeley and Downtown Oakland via Telegraph Avenue, would be extended to Fruitvale BART via Webster Street, Santa Clara Avenue, and Broadway, replacing existing Line 51A in Alameda.
  • Line 19 would come every 45 minutes, instead of every 60 minutes, and serve the Main Street Ferry Terminal via Willie Stargell Avenue before continuing to (or after coming from) Downtown Oakland.
  • Line 20 would be rerouted from Webster Street into the West End via Lincoln Avenue, Pacific Avenue, Main Street, and Willie Stargell Avenue.
  • Line 21 would no longer serve Oakland Airport (no replacement service is proposed) and would be extended from the Dimond District to Skyline High School in Oakland via Lincoln Avenue, Joaquin Miller Road, and Skyline Boulevard, replacing existing Line 39.
  • Line 51A would be eliminated and replaced with an extended Line 6 in Alameda and a New Line 51 in Oakland. New Line 51 would operate between Lake Merritt BART and the Berkeley Marina via Broadway, College Avenue, Downtown Berkeley, and University Avenue, but would not provide service to Alameda.
  • Line 96 would be rerouted between Lake Merritt BART and 14th Avenue in Oakland to serve Brooklyn Basin.
  • Lines 314 and 356, which have been suspended since the pandemic, would be permanently eliminated.
  • Line 851 would see no changes.
  • Line O buses would come every 60 minutes on weekends instead of every 30 minutes.
  • Line OX would be eliminated and replaced with an extension of Transbay Line W into Bay Farm Island.
  • Line W would be extended to Bay Farm Island from High Street to replace Transbay Line OX.
  • No changes have been announced for supplementary school service (Lines 631, 663, and 687)

AC Transit maps.

Changes previously proposed for the routes above were detailed in Alameda Post coverage in October 2023. As part of the agency’s outreach efforts during Phase 3, AC Transit staff gave presentations and solicited community feedback from Alamedans at the Transportation Commission meeting on November 15 and the City Council meeting on December 5.

For those seeking to provide feedback on the updated Phase 4 proposals, AC Transit will hold a “Realign Update & Open House” on Wednesday, January 24 and a “Realign Workshop” on Wednesday, February 7. The public may also submit comments through an online survey or the interactive web map. Public hearings are expected to be scheduled for mid-March.

Alameda Post - Willie Stargell Avenue
Willie Stargell Avenue (pictured), which is not currently served by public transit, could see Line 19 and Line 20 service by August 2024. Photo Ken Der.

In Alameda, the agency will discuss “Realign” during the City of Alameda—AC Transit Interagency Liaison Committee meeting on Tuesday, January 30 and host a pop-up event at Santa Clara Avenue and Park Street on Wednesday, January 31.

Ken Der is a contributing writer for the Alameda Post. Contact him via [email protected]. His writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Ken-Der.

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