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AC Transit board votes to cutback weekend service

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:43am

OAKLAND, CA (KGO) -- Serious cuts are coming for public transit in the East Bay. AC Transit board members hammered out a plan Wednesday night, despite protest from those who rely on the busses. In Oakland, weekend service will take a major hit.

The pleas were passionate and personal.

"How dare you cut the lifeline that I have that provides my homecare provider her way to get to work every day," said Michelle Rousey.

"This is preposterous. What am I going to do on the weekend to get to church?" said AC Transit rider Celia-Faye Russell.

Some residents tried to encourage the board to keep looking for alternate solutions.

"What I see before you is a plan for AC Transit's decline. What I don't see is a plan for how we're going to build AC Transit up and how we're going to shake those trees because there are trees where money can be found," said Lindsay Imai from Urban Habitat.

There was even a bit of humor.

"You must know some car dealers because you're helping them a lot," said AC Transit rider Elizabeth Pum.

Regardless, after two hours of listening to public comment, the board of directors voted unanimously in favor of the cuts.

"The board decided they had no alternative given our financial condition but to opt to cut at least about half of our weekend service," said AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson.

They'll also cut four of their six late night lines. Union members say the vote was a disappointment, but not a surprise.

"Before they walked in that boardroom, I figured they had already made their decision. This is just something they had to do for the public," said AC Transit operator Ann Boyd.

"But the fact of the matter is we plain don't have the money and if you don't have the money, it's very difficult to offer the same level of service that we used to," said Johnson.

AC Transit is in a contract dispute with its labor union. Officials say if the labor will make some compromises, then some of these cuts can be avoided. If that doesn't happen, these cuts will go into effect in December.

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

Lines that will be cut include:
Lines 1R, 7, 11, 12, 14, 21, 25, 26, 31, 32, 45, 49, 52, 54, 62, 65, 67, 68, 70, 71, 74, 76, 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.