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Press Release



April 18,2023

The multi-phased plan, assesses in real-time where, when, and how our bus fleet works

The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) announces the launch of the Realign Plan: a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative assessment of every bus line within our service network.

Unquestionably, there has been a paradigm shift in public transit travel patterns in the wake of the pandemic, which has cut AC Transit’s ridership almost in half and led to significant budget shortfalls. To save AC Transit and its future, we must analyze every mile of where our service is currently operating; better understand the mobility needs of current bus riders to attract more riders; and ultimately, how to realign bus lines against a backdrop of bus operator shortages and dwindling funds.

To do so, the AC Transit Realign Plan will evaluate in real-time where, when, and how our bus fleet moves across the 13 cities and unincorporated areas AC Transit serves daily. Realign, however, is much more than a statistical study of bus lines. It will also record and incorporate the personal and detailed experiences of riders through a comprehensive survey, public meetings, and one-on-one conversations created in partnership with community-based organizations. When complete, Realign’s collection of human and numerical data will be the underpinnings of renewed bus lines focused on equity and improved rider experiences.

It is vital to note AC Transit continues to endure a historic decline in riders and unprecedented fare losses. As of March 2023, overall ridership is roughly 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Fewer riders mean fareboxes are capturing a small percentage of the dollars needed to operate our transit district. In fact, AC Transit is forecasting limited improvements in rider revenues as Bay Area employers continue to operate remote and hybrid work schedules.

Transit operational subsidies are also imperiled. AC Transit sought and received federal relief funds (CARES Act) to keep bus lines moving. However, after three years, our CARES relief funds will soon be exhausted, pushing our service closer to what’s being called the “fiscal cliff” or budget shortfall.  Without a substantial increase in fare revenues and subsidies (regional, state, and federal) AC Transit may be forced to undergo service cuts.

Risks of service cuts are an outcome no one desires. AC Transit is a lifeline service to 25.5 million riders – FY22-23 YTD – and critical to the San Francisco Bay Area's infrastructure, which makes the Realign Plan a necessary albeit daunting process that will require these five consecutive phases to complete:

Phase 1: Mar-Jun 2023– Develop Assessment Plans and Learn Rider Needs; Phase 2: Jul-Aug 2023– Aligning Guiding Principles with Community Assessment; Phase 3: Sep-Dec 2023– Develop Service Scenarios and Gather Feedback; Phase 4: Jan-Apr 2024– Draft Final Service Plan and Plan Adoption; Phase 5: Apr-Sep 2024– Develop Service Standards and Inform Riders about Service Changes.

A final Service Plan will be shared with the community, in a draft form, during a formal public comment process and culminate with a review and a formal vote by the AC Transit Board of Directors.

A Title VI – equity analysis – of the American Civil Rights Act will be identified and presented for approval on a parallel track.

Click the link to launch the survey and learn more about AC Transit Realign.