The goodbye bus
The beleaguered bus service needs to cut its budget by 15 percent. So they’ve proposed a raft of service reductions in Alameda, including eliminating the portion of the 63 line that serves the West End (and its high schools).
The line change would effectively cut off an area west of Webster Street, below Atlantic Avenue, from bus service.
AC Transit staff has proposed an extension of another line to replace some of the lost service, bus some folks are saying it won’t be enough. They’re circulating a flyer to get people out to a September 12 public hearing on the proposed cuts. “If you want to keep the bus service, you need to be there,” it says.
The loss of the bus service could most hurt low-income West End residents and seniors, many of whom don’t drive. From a city staff report on a recent meeting on the proposed cuts:
Beyond the numbers of boardings and alightings, the populations that use the 63 tend to be lower income individuals and seniors, many of whom do not have access to a vehicle. The 63 provides the only transit service to Alameda Point, where the Alameda Point Collaborative is located, and also provides direct service to Independence Plaza and Anne B. Diament Plaza, the City’s two largest senior residential facilities.
Steve Gerstle, a West End resident who is working to save bus service, said the loss of bus service would leave some without access to food. “There is no grocery in the West End,” he said. He said the bus also provides a West End connection to Chinatown, which is “important for social and cultural needs as well as for food.”
Students at the West End’s high schools would also be impacted by the loss of service, which School Board Trustee Nielsen Tam said at the board’s meeting Tuesday night could increase truancy.
City Councilman Frank Matarrese, who has been working on the issue, said he understands that AC Transit needs to make cuts. “But hitting the West End with the loss of 63 service is not the answer,” he said.
He said it’s crucial people turn out to the public hearing, which is from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, September 12 at Independence Plaza, 703 Atlantic Avenue. They’ll be in the community meeting room. In the meantime, here are AC Transit’s current service map and the proposed one (pay close attention to that blue line to your left):