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AC Transit (in full, Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District) is a regional bus agency serving parts of Alameda Countymarker and Contra Costa Countymarker in the western coastal area of the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Areamarker, headquartered in Oaklandmarker. In addition, AC Transit runs "transbay" routes across San Francisco Baymarker to the city of San Franciscomarker, and selected areas in San Mateo Countymarker and Santa Clara Countymarker.

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 the Alameda or Contra Costa county governments, although the initials "AC" are often mistaken to mean "Alameda County."

The district is the public successor to the privately owned Key System.

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.

Bus service

The district encompasses the following cities and unincorporated areas:Oaklandmarker,Fremontmarker,Haywardmarker,Berkeleymarker,Richmondmarker,San Leandromarker,Alamedamarker,Castro Valleymarker,Newarkmarker,San Pablomarker,El Cerrito,San Lorenzomarker,Ashlandmarker,Albanymarker,Cherrylandmarker,El Sobrantemarker,Piedmontmarker,Fairviewmarker,Emeryvillemarker,Kensingtonmarker, andEast Richmond Heightsmarker.The district's bus lines also serve parts of some other East Bay communities, including Milpitasmarker, Orindamarker, Pinolemarker, and Union Citymarker.

AC Transit serves many colleges and universities including the University of California, Berkeleymarker; Stanford Universitymarker; California State University, East Baymarker; Chabot Collegemarker; Holy Names University; Peralta Colleges (Laney Collegemarker, College of Alamedamarker, Berkeley City Collegemarker, and Merritt Collegemarker), Contra Costa Collegemarker; Ohlone Collegemarker; and Mills Collegemarker.

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, San Francisco Municipal Railway, Golden Gate Transit, the Alameda-Oakland Ferry, the Harbor Bay Ferry, and Emery Go Round.

AC Transit serves Oakland International Airportmarker with lines 50 (most hours of the day and night) and 805 (1 a.m. to 5 a.m.).

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 Bridgemarker to connect communities as distant as El Sobrantemarker and Newarkmarker with San Franciscomarker's Transbay Terminalmarker (formerly the terminus of the Key System).

Bus service is also provided across the bridges to the south. In 2003, the district introduced a San Mateo-Hayward Bridge route, Line M, to connect the BART stations of Castro Valleymarker and Haywardmarker with Foster Citymarker and San Mateomarker's Hillsdale Boulevard Caltrain station. A second San Mateo-Hayward Bridge route, Line MA, was added in 2006 and discountiued in 2007. (The M replaced the SamTrans 90E, which had been sharply reduced in the mid-1990s and was canceled altogether in 1999.) Across the Dumbarton Bridge, AC Transit operates, under contract with a consortium of transit agencies (including AC Transit itself as well as BART, SamTrans, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and Union City Transit), the Dumbarton Express, a series of bus lines connecting the Union City BART station with East Palo Altomarker, Menlo Parkmarker, Palo Altomarker, and Stanford Universitymarker. Additionally, the district in 2004 began another Dumbarton Bridge route, Line U, a commute-hour service linking Stanford with ACE trains and the Fremont BART station.

In 2003, AC Transit created a new bus rapid transit line operating on San Pablo Avenue. Designated as Route 72R (or San Pablo Rapid), it runs between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. at a 12-minute frequency with stops 2/3 mile apart, running between Jack London Squaremarker and Contra Costa Collegemarker. The line uses no timepoints and instead allows buses to travel along the route as fast as traffic allows. This supplements multiple stop routes 72 and 72M (renamed from 73). Following the success of this experiment, similar lines elsewhere in the region are being planned. The corridor between downtown Berkeley and Bay Fair BART on Telegraph Ave., International Blvd., and East 14th St. has been selected for expansion of this service on a new line. Designated as Route 1R (or International Rapid), it was launced June 24, 2007 alongside a supplemented multiple stop Route 1, replacing heritage multiple and limited stop routes 40(L), 43 and 82(L).

For years AC Transit provided 24-hour service on its trunk lines (except in the late 1990s due to budget cuts). Beginning December 10, 2005, the district began supplementing BART service, which does not run between midnight and 5 AM, by participating in the All-Nighter Network.


Uptown Transit Center,Richmond Parkway Transit Centermarker,Hilltop Mallmarker,El Cerrito del Norte BARTmarker,El Cerrito Plaza BARTmarker,Contra Costa Collegemarker,Richmond BART/Amtrakmarker,Downtown Berkeley BARTmarker,MacArthur BARTmarker,San Francisco Transbay Terminalmarker,West Oakland BARTmarker,Fruitvale BARTmarker,Rockridge BARTmarker,San Leandro BARTmarker,Bayfair BARTmarker,Eastmont Transit Center,Hillsdale Caltrain Stationmarker,Palo Alto Caltrain Stationmarker,Ashby BARTmarker,Hayward BARTmarker,South Hayward BARTmarker,Castro Valley BARTmarker,North Berkeley BARTmarker,Union City BARTmarker,Ohlone Collegemarker,Fremont BARTmarker,Great Mall VTA Stationmarker,Ardenwood Transit Center,Newpark Mall,Southland Mallmarker



See also AC Transit's page on fares.


Fare category Cash 10-Ride Ticket 31-Day Ticket
Adult US$2.00 US$20.00 US$80.00
Youth (5-17) US$1.00 US$10.00 US$15.00
Senior (65+), disabled ( ), and Medicare US$1.00 US$10.00 US$20.00

  • †31-day tickets and senior/disabled/Medicare fares not valid on line 304.
  • ‡This is the price for a calendar month sticker on the Regional Transit Connection discount card.


Fare category Cash 31-Day Ticket
Adult US$4.00 US$132.50
Youth (5-17) US$2.00 not available
Senior (65+), disabled ( ), and Medicare US$2.00 not available

  • †31-day tickets and senior/disabled/Medicare fares not valid on line 304.
  • ‡31-day tickets for Transbay service are available only with TransLink.


All transfers are issued at the time a fare is paid, and are good for one use within 1½ hours.

Transfer type Adult Youth (5-17) Senior (65+), disabled ( ), and Medicare
Local bus to local bus US$0.25 US$0.25 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$1.75 Add US$0.75 Add US$0.75
From Golden Gate Transit to local bus (with transfer issued on board Golden Gate Transit) Free Free Free
From Union City Transit to local bus (with transfer issued on board Union City Transit) Free Free Free
From Amtrak's Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin trains to local bus (with transfer issued on board Amtrak) Free Free Free

  • †Transbay transfers are good for local-to-Transbay transfers with payment of Transbay fare on the first bus.

AC Transit participates in TransLink, a regional smart card fare collection system.


Another 30-foot Van Hool bus on the 52L route crossing College Avenue in Berkeley

At first, AC Transit utilized the buses of its predecessor, the Key System. Virtually all of these buses were made by General Motors in the 1950s. AC Transit soon ordered newer GM buses made in the early 1960s. Throughout the 1960s, AC Transit used both the old and new GM buses (referred to as "GM old look" and "GM new look" buses). In the mid-1960s, AC Transit pioneered the use of an articulated bus, operating the experimental GM bus "XMC 77", primarily on the "N" MacArthur Blvd.-San Francisco line. The "old look" buses continued to see daily service well into the 1970's and finally retired around 1976 or so.

AC Transit continued to purchase GM "new look" buses through the early 1970s, but also began purchasing buses from rival manufacturer Flxible. By the late 1970's, no more GM buses were added (AC Transit has never ordered an RTS vehicle, GM's successor to the "new look" coaches, which saw widespread use elsewhere around the USA, notably in Los Angeles, New York City and Phoenix). Instead, additions from Flyer and Gillig were made throughout the 1980s.

In 2003, AC Transit switched to new low-floor buses from Van Hool, purchasing A330 40-foot and AG300 60-foot articulated buses. More recently, it also purchased a number of new, custom-designed 30-foot buses for its neighborhood routes, called the Van Hool A300K.AC Transit news release announcing the launch of their new 30-foot bus.

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. Vehicles on selected lines can be viewed from AC Transit's NextBus passenger information system.

AC Transit also is a worldwide leader in implementing new, environmentally-friendly technologies. Three hydrogen-powered buses, based on the 40-foot A330 bus (see above), currently operate on the 50 and 57 bus lines to test their real-world feasibility and reliability. In addition, the district is soon to take delivery (starting last quarter 2009) of twelve new generation Van Hool A300L FC fuelcell buses. These buses are the next step in the development of hydrogen, fuelcells and electric drive for use in public transport.

All AC Transit buses in active service are accessible to passengers with mobility issues including those who use wheelchairs.

A detailed list of vehicles:

Perhaps because of the relatively cool summertime climate of the Bay Area (compared to other regions of California and the US), most AC Transit vehicles are not air-conditioned. However, in 2007 the district's board of directors voted to purchase air conditioning when buying new buses.


As with almost all U.S. transit services, service is government-subsidized. In 2003, AC Transit responded to budget cuts in Californiamarker by reducing and eliminating many bus routes.

In 2004 voters in the AC Transit district, along with voters in other parts of the San Francisco Bay Areamarker approved Regional Measure 2, which provides regional transportation projects (including AC Transit) with $125 million of additional yearly revenues. Additionally, 2/3 of the voters approved Measure BB, a parcel tax specifically supporting AC Transit.

In April 2005, a class action law suit was filed against the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The plaintiffs alleged that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission was discriminating against AC Transit's primarily minority ridership by giving AC Transit disproportionately less money than BART and Caltrain. However, AC Transit is not party to the law suit.

Internet access

AC Transit and its partner EcoNetwork offer, 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.

Solar energy

On July 30, 2007 AC Transit announced that it had entered into a 25-year long partnership with Sun Power Corporation, MMA Renewable Ventures, and Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) to install solar energy systems at all its facilities in efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, better air quality of the immediate area, and save up to US$ 15,000 per year in energy costs which would add up to millions of dollars it will save and spend on transit service instead.

2009 Plans for Route Revisions

A proposal to adjust multiple routes by either schedule revisions, route modifications, and/or route eliminations is currently under review, and several community meetings are to take place to evaluate the impacts of the route adjustments which will affect many local lines and all Transbay lines. Several proposals are on hand, which will include:

  • Reducing frequency on the less-productive and on almost all Transbay routes while increasing weekend and holidays service on others
  • Eliminate or modify the least productive and/or longest routes with either:
    • Introducing shorter, more productive routes that will use similar roads as those eliminated or modified routes
    • Extending some existing routes to serve new areas
    • Introducing new, short "loop" routes that will serve at least one BART station and major attractions
  • Introduce a new limited-stop service (Route 58L) that will serve between Downtown Oakland and Eastmont Transit Center via MacArthur Blvd, thus effectively complement with Route NL that provides the same service between MacArthur & Lakeshore and Eastmont Transit Center
  • Split the busiest route, Route 51, into two routes, with a new terminal at Rockridge BARTmarker wherein:
    • One half (proposed Route 3) will operate between Rockridge BART and Berkeley Amtrak Stationmarker via College Avenue, UC Berkeley, Shattuck Avenue, and University Avenue in Oakland and Berkeley.
    • The other half (proposed Route 4) will operate between Rockridge BART and Fruitvale BARTmarker via College Avenue, Broadway, Lincoln Avenue, Santa Clara, Broadway (Alameda), Broadway & Blanding (current terminal), and Fruitvale BART (new terminal) in Oakland and Alameda.


  1. AC Transit Sponsors World's Largest Chalk Drawing, AC Transit External Affairs, June, 9th, 2008, access date July 21, 2008
  2. "Marketing & Community Relations Priorities Through December 2006," memo to AC Transit Board of Directors, April 19, 2006
  3. "Change Happens: June 24," AC Transit Marketing, May 15, 2007
  4. Special Bus to Golden Gate Fields AC Transit Marketing, 4th paragraph, 10/18/2005, retrieved 4/25/07
  5. Special Bus to Golden Gate Fields AC Transit Marketing, 4th paragraph, 10/18/2005, retrieved 4/25/07
  6. Where To Use TransLink, retrieved April 26, 2007
  7. AC Transit's HyRoad program
  9. The Daily Californian
  10. AC Transit Turns on Solar Power, AC Transit External Affairs, July 30, 2007, retrieved July 31 2007
  11. Service Changes
  12. AC Transit News
  13. New Route 58L
  14. Routes 3/4 Proposal Map

External links

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