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A Year Ago on Zero Resource – November 2010

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A Year Ago on Zero Resource – October 2010

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A Year Ago on Zero Resource – September 2010

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Another Fiscal Emergency for AC Transit?

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AC Transit will hold a public hearing on May 25 at 5:00 pm at the offices at 1600 Franklin Street in Downtown Oakland to discuss declaring a fiscal emergency for the third consecutive year.

According to California Beat:

Calling a fiscal emergency would allow AC Transit to cut costs by eliminating service, implementing hiring freezes and reorganize administrative expenses without undergoing environmental reviews that would delay the process.

The agency is facing a $14.9 million shortfall in the coming fiscal year and warns it will face a steeper funding shortage by the end of 2012.

In October, the agency cut 13 percent of bus service to nearly all East Bay communities and hiked fares for riders. This month, the Board approved a ten-year fare increase plan that will increase the base fare incrementally to meet inflation rates.

You can read the entire story here.

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The AC Transit Board voted last week to raise basic bus fares from $2.00 to $2.10, to take effect August 1.

According to Mercury News:

The increase, however, is a tiny fraction of what is needed, district officials said. It will raise just $2.4 million annually to reduce a projected deficit of $21 million in the next fiscal year, according to a district staff report.

As a result, another round of service cuts are likely to be needed within the next 12 to 18 months, King said. AC Transit cut service twice last year.

You can read the entire story here.

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3rd Round of AC Transit Cuts Averted – For Now

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AC Transit and the union representing its bus drivers and mechanics reached a new three year contract deal on Tuesday after months of painful arbitration. Both parties were ordered to binding interest arbitration after the union took the agency to court over an imposed contract in July. The agreement will save the agency a projected $38 million over the life of the contract.

The new contract will require that union members make co-pays for medical visits and take a stepped-down pay decrease over the next three years (6 % in the first year, 5% in year two, and 3% in year three).

The agreement avoids the December implementation of deep weekend service cuts that could have been a debilitating blow to an already tested ridership that has borne both two rounds of cuts (amounting to over 14% of service) and a fare increase during the past year. AC Transit has also instituted management cuts and spending reductions during its fiscal crisis.

Interim General Manager Mary King issued a statement saying, “There are no winners or losers in this arbitration. Both AC Transit and the union focused on what is best for the riders and taxpayers of this district and what is in the long-term interest of maintaining public transit for the people we serve.”

Although the December cuts have been avoided for now, the agency will still be struggling with a budgetary deficit.

Read more at AC Transit’s website and in the SF Examiner.

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AC Transit Cuts Take Effect Today

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Significant adjustments to nearly 70 transit lines took effect today. According to the AC Transit website:

Significant changes include:

  • Reducing frequency on 28 lines
  • Starting service later in the morning and/or ending earlier in the evening  on 18 lines
  • Eliminating or operating shorter routes on weekends on four lines
  • Reconfiguring service in some areas, including West Oakland/Emeryville, Lakeshore Ave./Grand Ave. in Oakland, Bay Farm Island in Alameda, and San Leandro
  • Discontinuing service to Orinda BART and along Broadway Terrace in Oakland
  • Adding extensions to two lines to replace limited service in Piedmont, and service between Alameda and the Oakland Airport

All changes are listed in detail on the AC Transit website here.

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Full List of AC Transit Cuts

The full list of night and weekend buses with service being cut has now been posted on the AC Transit website here.

Weekend lines that will continue to operate include: Lines 1, 1R, 18, 20, 22, 26, 40, 45, 51A, 51B, 57, 60, 72, 72M, 73, 76, 88, 97, 99, 210 and 217.

Lines that will be cut include: Lines 7, 11, 12, 14, 21, 25, 31, 32, 49, 52, 54, 62, 65, 67, 68, 70, 71, 74, 85, 86, 89, 93, 95, 98, 242, 251, 275, 332, 345, 350, 376, 386, F, NL and O.

The discontinued All-Nighter service includes Lines 802, 805, 840 and 851. Lines 800 and 801 will not be affected.

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Update on AC Transit Cuts

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Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Last night, AC Transit’s board of directors voted unanimously to slash night and weekend bus service in an effort to reduce the projected $40 million budget deficit.

Thirty-nine “minor” weekend routes are on the chopping block, but most major weekend routes will be left intact.

Four of the six all night buses will disappear. The only surviving lines will be the 800 and the 801.

According to Berkeleyside, 9 weekend services will be eliminated in Berkeley – the 1R, 7, 12, 25, 49, 52, 65, 67 and the Transbay F.

Another decision on paratransit services was postponed.

The full set of cuts should be posted on the AC Transit site soon.

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Noelle has previously written about the challenges facing AC Transit – AC Transit Cuts (5/25/10), AC Transit Cuts, Part 2 (6/2/10), and AC Transit Cuts, Part 3 (7/8/2010).

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Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

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This post is part of our definitions series on “eco-lingo” and technical terms.

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If you have read articles about urban transit in recent years, chances are you have run across the phrase “BRT” or “bus rapid transit”. BRT refers to a mode of bus travel that is characterized by streamlined operations on heavily traveled routes to reduce travel and wait times and/or increase average daily trips. Elements of BRT may be any combination of dedicated bus lanes, limited stop “express” buses, increased coordination for “signal priority” at stop lights, quick-boarding platform placement and configuration , curb cuts and turn-abouts for faster maneuvering of buses and pre-board fare collection.

The argument for BRT is generally that there is an increasing need for fast and efficient public transit in cities spurred by factors such as population growth and greenhouse gas reduction goals. However, rail systems are extremely costly to build and maintain, and many of America’s cities lack even basic public rail infrastructure. BRT can bridge this gap and provide the efficiency and effectiveness of a rail system while utilizing the already existing roadways.
Visit AC Transit’s BRT page here, and visit the National Bus Rapid Transit Institute here.

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What exactly does “sustainability” mean? How about “green”, “eco” or “environmentally friendly”? The truth is that these terms are just vague enough to mean many different things to many different people. With the staggering array of “green” products, ‘lifestyles’ and concepts being promoted by marketers and environmentalists alike (as well as the necessary coining of new terms to match new ideas) our definition series aims to make sense of the rising tide of “eco-lingo” and technical terms.

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AC Transit Cuts, part three

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This post is part of our coverage on water, waste, energy and transportation issues of interest to the local Bay Area community.

Here is a check-in on the ongoing budget crisis within AC Transit, the East Bay’s bus system:

Despite months of negotiations and meetings, AC Transit and the union representing most of its workers,  the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Local 192 have so far been unable to reach a mutually acceptable strategy to close the $56 million deficit facing the agency by the close of 2011.

June 30th represented a milestone in the negotiations- that was the day that the ATU’s previous contract terms expired. The process has nonetheless stagnated. AC Transit Director Greg Harper is quoted in the AC Transit News as commenting, “I think we are definitely at an impasse because the union has so far offered less than 50 percent of what is needed to close the budget deficit.”

The Agency is looking to recoup 8 to 9 percent of employment costs in the new contract. The grim financial scenario has already resulted in fee hikes for riders, service cuts, layoffs, and 5% salary cuts for the board of directors. With a 75% share of the operating budget being allocated to employee costs, the Board of Directors is maintaining that shortfalls cannot be met without some concessions from the union.

The declared impasse and revised terms of employment, effective July 18, have been laid out by the Board of Directors. It remains uncertain if a strike will be avoided.