Skip to main content

Memories & Inspiration

Memories & Inspiration

Memories_top.jpg
Memories left (new)

We love being such an important part of people’s lives and the community we serve. The most talented, heroic and kindest people in the world are right here in our service area. Thank you to everyone for embracing us over the past 60 years. We hope to remain with you for 60 more.

Inspired? Have a memory or story to share? Use this form to let us know — and you might end up with some limited-edition 60th anniversary promotional items.

Por favor, use este formulario para compartir sus felices recuerdos sobre AC Transit.

请使用此表格分享您对 AC Transit 的快乐回忆。


Memories:

Grace appreciates that AC Transit is so convenient and the drivers that work hard to get riders where they need to go safely. One of her fondest memories was traveling to Cal games on AC Transit. “Growing up, my dad, grandpa and I would take the 18 bus to go to Cal football games together. I loved traveling with them on the bus. I could feel the excitement grow every stop when more and more Cal fans would join us on the bus—often cheering with us and complementing our Cal merch. Some of my favorite childhood memories with my grandpa and dad were spent on the bus going to the football game together!

–  Grace P, AC Transit rider for 12+ years

What Robert likes most about AC Transit are the bike racks, All Nighter owl service, and frequency of line 57. Also, AC Transit helped him find his home. “In 1984 while exploring Oakland by bus with Paul Groth’s guidebook, ‘AC15: Oakland as a Cross Section of America’s Urban Cultural Landscapes,’ I found my home. After the bus turned from 14th Avenue onto MacArthur Boulevard, lined with streetcar-era commercial buildings was a ‘Bungalow Street’ diversion. Walking north on Woodruff for two blocks, an architectural gem awaited. It turned out to be a rundown estate on sale—right in my price range! Line 15 is now gone, but for the next 36 years my wife and I have appreciated the convenience of our bungalow home to Lines NL, NX, 57, 62, 11/96 and 20.”

–  Robert R, AC Transit rider since 1979

“As a kid I really had a passion for AC Transit buses, which inspired me to become a driver. I always loved how the system worked. The service was great. You know, you really don’t realize how great until you go out to other cities and see how their bus service is. I would always say when I was away in another city that AC Transit has a better service. If I would return back to the Bay Area, I would appreciate AC Transit a little more.”

–  Ken B, AC Transit rider from 1964; Bus Operator from 1980-2020

“With the exception of the years I lived outside of the service area, AC has been there for me. While not always my preferred mode of transportation (teenagers, after they have a drivers’ license, tend to drive whenever they can — and I was a normal teenager, at least in this!), AC has ALWAYS been there for me. I remember frequently dragging one of my parents (usually, but not always, Dad) onto the 67 to downtown Berkeley, then picking another line and riding to the end of the line for a picnic on weekends. This was in the early 60s! These trips cemented my lifelong identity as a transit nerd and fueled my nascent identity as an infrastructure junkie!”

–  Steven D, regular rider to school circa 1967 and intermittent rider since

Clarence appreciates drivers doing their best, under all kinds of conditions, with all types of passengers. “My grandmother and I would purchase a ‘Sunday/Holiday pass’ (for 60¢) in mid-1960s. But one Sunday stands out… We boarded line 64 in Oakland on an old Key System coach with a ’64 San Jose’ headsign—heading towards ‘San Jose Avenue’ in Alameda. The driver did not know route very well, because when we were on the 23rd Avenue overpass for Highway-17 (which is now I-880), the driver went onto the freeway and drove us down to San Jose. We were the only folks in the bus. Eventually the driver asked us what exit does this route take? We replied, ‘We don’t know. We are just riding around on the pass for the fun of it!!!.’ The driver called someone for direction help (after finding a pay phone), and we headed back up Highway-17 to Alameda. It was the best value (detour) ride AC Transit ever gave my grandmother and me on a Sunday/Holiday pass!!!”

–  Clarence F, AC Transit rider (along with mother; grandmother) since the Key System and continued when AC Transit launched in 1960

“As a child in the 60s, I rode AC Transit with my grandmother who had switched from the Key System. Later in the 70s I rode with my friends. My fondest memories of growing up are going on AC Transit from Albany to the San Francisco Terminal with my grandmother. The ride across the bridge was thrilling, and of course we always wore gloves to go into the City!

–  Robin E, AC Transit rider since the 1960s; her grandmother was a rider from the start

“Riding AC transit is reliable and comfortable. I did not own a car as a teenager. But needed to get around town. Living in Alameda I had a job in Oakland working at a donut shop. I needed to be there very, very early in the morning. So here I am with no car and needing to be in Oakland at 6:30 AM. So, I really counted on the AC transit bus. As I remember the fare for my age group In the 1970s was $.35 cents. There were days when I didn’t have two nickels to my name. The early morning A.C. bus driver was quite nice and understanding. On the days when I only had $.25, not enough to cover the fair , he would go into his own pocket for the dime I needed for the $.35 fare. I’ll never forget him, he saved the day A few times.”

–  Dee K, AC Transit rider since the 1970s

“My mother had my sister and I carry large bags of laundry on the bus. The bus driver was always kind. There was one in particular they called Chili. He was great! We even carried large bags of Christmas gifts that we took to the family dinner. Looking back, the bus driver didn’t give us a hard time about our large bags. That would have been even more embarrassing! We were already embarrassed! Also thinking back, it is nice to know that we could depend on AC Transit for our transportation needs. THANK YOU!”

–  “Maurice M, AC Transit rider with his sister and parents in the 1970s

“AC Transit was my ride to school; foggy days to and from Montera and Skyline high school; the drivers were the best”

–  “A Wells Kid”, AC Transit rider 1978-1983

“I didn't own a car for six years by relying on AC Transit and other forms of public transportation. I appreciate that there are so many bus lines in my neighborhood that it’s easy to get around Oakland and the rest of Alameda County in a sustainable and convenient way.

Last year in August, I got married and took the 14 AC Transit bus from my house to the wedding venue. My half of the wedding party was getting ready at my house, and since the 14 bus has stops right outside my apartment and our wedding venue, I thought we might be able to take the bus there. I quickly got everyone who isn’t local to the Bay Area some exact change (the rest of us used our Clipper cards), and we hopped on the bus. My bride took a much slower and much more expensive taxi to the venue and we beat her there by taking the bus.

–  Ryan L, AC Transit rider for 8 years

“One day I was seated near the front of a bus and saw an old man getting off as a young man brushed past him into the bus. The lady bus driver commanded both men to stop, then ordered the young man to return the old man’s wallet. She had seen the young man pick the old man's pocket. The young man returned the wallet and got off the bus.”

–  Camille H, AC Transit rider since 1960

“There is a wonderful sense of community between the drivers and passengers. We look after each other, especially around ensuring dozing passengers don't miss their stops.” A happy memory was the H bus passengers singing happy birthday to their favorite driver!”

–  Ti W, AC Transit Transbay rider since 2005

“When I was in my late 20s, I used to take the F line to San Francisco every weekend to go to the discos. I would always catch the last bus back to Berkeley at 2am. It was usually driven by Billy, an African-American man. It wasn’t unusual for me to be the only passenger. When that happened, Billy would crank up the ‘dirty blues,’ and we would enjoy the music on my ride home. I love those memories of rolling through the dark, empty roads with that great music as our backdrop.”

–  Jude B, AC Transit rider for 40 years

“Riding the bus thrusts you into the midst of humanity. You hear other people’s stories; you see their struggles. Once in a while I have seen drivers come to the end of their patience, but more often I have seen them be kind and compassionate, particularly to the disabled riders who rely on their help. And I have seen riders be kind and compassionate to each other as well.

I grew up in the Berkeley hills. The routes up there were tricky to navigate, lots of narrow streets and tight turns. And during the middle of the day there were often only a few passengers. I remember sometimes encountering drivers who were on the route for the first time. I would sit in the front seat and tell them which way to go. They didn’t mind because they didn’t want to take a wrong turn and get stuck!”

–  Michele R, AC Transit rider since the 1970s (and her mother is a proud rider to this day)

“I loved getting on the bus after work. All the same people were on the bus every day, and everyone joined the discussion. We even had a social security expert who gave us advice!”

–  Ellen S, AC Transit rider since 1980

“My father worked, and at the time my mom did not drive but took us everywhere on the bus! I remember the color of the buses. They were so clean and beautiful, and everyone got a big window or an aisle seat! If you got the window seat you got to look out and ring the bell for the stop! It was so much fun!”

–  Diana V, AC Transit rider since the mid-1960s

"I hope to be a future AC Transit bus operator I can appreciate how much AC Transit cares for and works for the community, while providing a truly needed service that helps so many people get to where they need to be. They believe in working with the people, which gives and creates hope for the future. I’m thankful for AC Transit and congratulate them on making 60 years.”

–  Michael H, AC Transit Rider  for most of his life (25-30 years)

“I remember the day AC Transit took over from Key System. I walked up the street to see the AC logo on the old Key System bus in my neighborhood (the 67). I also remember taking my first ride to San Francisco on one of the ‘new looks’ (the F). Pretty cool stuff!”

–  Paul P, AC Transit rider 1960-1967

“I appreciate that AC Transit is mostly on time and cares about its ridership—providing barriers, masks and hand sanitizer.” Mark remembers “riding the F Line on Saturdays to Japanese School and smelling the HILLS BROS Coffee Roasters, just before the bus turned onto its Transbay Ramp.”

–  Mark P, AC Transit rider since 1973

“Some 45 years ago, I had a job after school at the Eastmont Mall pet shop. I would take the 57 home many times late at night. Generally, I would be carrying some critter to convalesce or add to my personal cornucopia of ‘pets.’ Several times I would have a parakeet or finch chew through their transportation box. I could usually catch them without too much distress. If not, I guess they found a new home.”

–  David D J, AC Transit rider for exactly 60 years (which started in his mom’s belly)

Q: What do you appreciate about AC Transit?

A: That it exists.

Susan’s fondest memories were of “the wonderful day-trips AC Transit had in the early 70s (?). I didn't own a car then and still don’t, and those trips were really fun. Among the places I remember going to were the Winchester Mystery House and the Sunset Magazine test kitchen and garden.”

–  Susan D, AC Transit rider since 1968

“Before COVID and the 1Tempo, my favorite line was the 1R. Fast, reliable, and got you to your destination faster.”

–  Celestine N, AC Transit rider since 1979

“I appreciate that I can be very independent without a car and get around.”

–  Anne H, AC Transit rider for 35 years

“Love going through the archives of yesteryear! Never seen an AC Transit scheme that I didn’t like. Hope to see some of these old paint schemes again!”

–  AT P, Recent AC Transit rider (first in the family)

“I love my riders and coworkers. I love AC Transit.”

–  David Y, AC Transit bus Operator, retired after 40 years

“AC Transit drivers handle the stress of commuting across the Bay Bridge. I am so grateful.”

–  Diane S, AC Transit intermittent rider for 50 years; regular commuter for 5

“It was a rainy week. I was going to work, and the driver gave me brand new rain boots for my birthday. It was wonderful! I still use the bus to get around. It’s so nice to have a bus stop near my house.”

–  Astra B, AC Transit rider since 2010

“Growing up in the early 90s, my brother and I to rode the 45 line from Sobrante Park and the 82L every day. Sometimes we’d ride all day just to get out of Sobrante Park. Later, after moving around in the late 90s early 2000s, we’d end up on the 43 (which was one of my favorite lines), 51 and the 73 Point Richmond. I appreciate some of the lines that haven’t changed from my childhood as a rider. I also appreciate that they have not reused the 43 and 82 line numbers. Unless they bring those lines back in their entirety, they gotta leave those numbers retired in the rafters like they do in sports. Those are legends.

Many days my brother and I rode by ourselves. But we always collected the maps and schedules on whatever line we took and would stash those in shoe boxes, so we’d never get lost.”

–  Jerome S, AC Transit Bus Operator for 6 years (so far)

“Happy Anniversary, AC Transit. My fondest memory is not knowing what bus routes to take, whether it was to my doctors’ appointments or to work. Thank AC Transit for always keeping me safe and for always getting me to my destinations on time.”

–  Corinne G, AC Transit rider

“My dad was a driver for AC, and sometimes I used to ride the bus with him to keep him company. I also took it to school, the plaza, movies and even when I worked in Berkeley. That was a good way to get around back in the 70s and 80s. I always had the schedule to plan the day.”

–  Linda S, former AC Transit rider

“I started riding AC to school back in the 1970s, when the fare was 15 cents. On the weekends, I would ride various lines to go places or visit friends. At that time, you could go a long way on one transfer — on one occasion I went from Richmond down to Hayward. I loved the GMC fishbowl buses. Still to this day, the operators are professional, courteous and provide a reliable service to the public. I knew many operators from the Richmond Division (D3) by name, back when I rode. The’re all retired by now, but I still remember some instances where they went above and beyond the job description of a coach operator.”

–  Steve R, long-time AC Transit rider

“I came to California when I was 15 years old (in June of 1985) and am now 49. My mom gave me a youth bus pass and told me I had to learn the bus system on my own. And, I did. Until this day, I still need AC Transit and never drove a car. I remember this one special driver they called “The 51 Queen.” She loved driving the 51 line. One day I was on my way to a youth job interview, was running late and left my bus pass at home. She let me ride for free—and that was in 1987. I would see her from time to time. And every time I saw her, I would thank her. She is retired now. Her name is Joanye Cornelius.”

–  Robertina B, long-time AC Transit rider

“The remembrances of those days are fun! It has, and it is still a joy, to ride with your AC Transit bus to Ohlone College when I go there for classes!”

–  William F, AC Transit rider

“I’m crazy about AC Transit & It’s the best & AC always has kept me SAFE & SOUND & I always ENJOYED riding the bus & always will. I was 8 years old when I taught myself how to ride AC TRANSIT bus service. My first buses were the 88 Line on Sacramento Street in Berkeley & the 65 to Shattuck Avenue. All of my great-uncles & their children & their children work for AC TRANSIT & I'm very proud of that.”

–  Lisa H, AC Transit rider

“There was a BART Transbay Tube fire in January of 1979 that caused the suspension of BART service to San Francisco for over 3 months. This resulted in extremely high volume of commuters using AC Transit during this time. I was an operator on the F Bus from Berkeley to San Francisco at that time, and I'll never forget the long lines of commuters awaiting my bus as I pulled into the Transbay Terminal in the afternoon.”

–  Dan T, AC Transit Bus Operator 1974-1980

“As a young man, all I knew was Alameda at that time. One day on my way home, I accidentally missed my stop and inadvertently rode the bus into downtown Oakland. I distinctly remember that day because AC Transit introduced me to a whole new world outside of Alameda. We went through the tunnel, and I remember feeling scared. When we came out of the tunnel, I was amazed to see downtown Oakland. After I realized I was lost, the Bus Operator was nice and pointed me back in the right direction. After that experience, I knew the world was much bigger and there was so much to see.”

–  Marvin D, AC Transit employee of 8 years (so far)

“I've been riding AC Transit before I could even walk! Everyone in my family has also been a regular rider: both my parents to work and my grandparents to get groceries, especially since they do not drive. Some of my best childhood memories were spent on AC Transit with my grandfather. We would take the 72 almost every weekend to Jack London Square to watch and count trains together, pick up a book at the long-gone Barnes and Noble, and wave out the bus window to one last train for the day as we pulled away from the stop!

–  Ken D, lifelong AC Transit rider

“My whole family uses the bus to save money on gas — and yes my grandparents used the system too. My grandma was actually a bus driver! I appreciate how much AC Transit cares about safety and cleaning. Even before the pandemic, the buses were always clean and had the nicest of drivers. I always have a conversation with the bus driver. My favorite memory is when I was riding a 210 bus and the driver told me he had been working for AC Transit for 32 years. Just to hear his dedication makes me want to ride and hear other drivers’ stories.

–  Marilyn R, AC Transit rider

“My mom and grandmother were regular riders, going back to the Key System days. The 51 would stop in front of our house, and my mom would take a ride to downtown Oakland to shop and meet her mom for lunch once a week. I got to go, too, during school holidays (and probably when I was too young to remember). They'd coordinate which bus to take, since grandma lived further down the route and would try to catch the same bus. I was too young to understand that they used the timetable for this. It just seemed like magic to have her board our same bus! It was like a rite of passage when I went to Oakland to shop and have lunch with a school friend by ourselves for the first time. We’re carrying on the tradition!"

–  Shirley S, AC Transit employee of 35 years (so far)

As a Transportation Supervisor, Allen P spent much of his time on the streets of Oakland. He experienced much over the years, but two instances stand out. A toddler had stopped breathing and was turning blue. An ambulance was on its way, but somehow headed to the wrong location. Allen had a close working relationship with AC Transit Dispatcher Linda M, who was able to talk him through artificial respiration, and together they saved the baby.

Another instance of Allen being in the right place at the right time was encountering a young boy in pajamas wandering around by himself early in the morning near Oakland’s Chinatown. Allen ran through an intersection to prevent the boy from being hit by a car and ended up being grazed himself. All ended well with the boy being reunited with his family. The boy saw Allen weeks later in public and called out, “Oh look — friend!”

–  Allen P, Retired from AC Transit with 39 years of service

“In middle school, I relied heavily on the bus to get me to and from school. Fast forward to 2016. I’m working at AC Transit and that very same bus operator turned out to be the Chief Dispatcher at the Division I was assigned to.” Small world. Close-knit community.

–  Tina E, Current AC Transit employee

Commenting on a photo of the old Transbay Terminal:

“I used the old terminal right up to the end! I remember the long ramps, the big wooden benches, the birbs”

–  @alfred.twu (Instagram)

Ken has had a life full of special experiences because of AC Transit. His favorite parts of the job were interacting with people and getting to see new places. Although he grew up in Oakland, Ken feels like driving was being paid to sightsee in different parts of the Bay Area he had never seen before. While on the job, he made lifelong friends — both coworkers and riders. Every day after work, they would play basketball in East Oakland.

Ken was taught “to be pleasant to everyone, because you’ll run into them down the line.” When he was driving, he recalls stopping by a convenience store every day for snacks and would say hello to the proprietor and his son, Will. The positive impression of Ken contributed to Will’s passion for transit and buses. 15 years later, Will would end up working for AC Transit.

–  Ken B, Retired from AC Transit with 40 years of service