AC Transit Realign
Help build our future transit service
See what we have learned through Phase 1
In the first half of 2023, our team worked to better understand how peoples' transit needs have changed in the wake of the pandemic. We've worked on a market analysis, a service assessment, and talked to a lot of people throughout the East Bay about their transit needs and documented their feedback. We also encouraged community members to tell us their thoughts through a community survey, through which we received more than 15,000 responses from across the East Bay. Take a moment to learn what we've learned.
We are updating our bus network. You can help!
Through extensive data collection, including surveys, market analysis, origin-destination analysis, and service assessment, we have started building a new bus service network aimed at enhancing the experience for our existing riders and, ideally, attracting new ones as well. As we enter Realign's Phase 2, we will present key findings from our research, introduce a draft set of guiding principles, and invite you to provide feedback on their importance to your travel needs. This stage also allows us to revisit our progress, ensuring that we have addressed all relevant aspects of the project. Your input is critical in helping to shape our future plans.
AC Transit is reviewing and updating where, when, and how buses move throughout our service area. We are launching a top-to-bottom analysis of the system because travel patterns have not only changed in the wake of the pandemic, but we also face significant budget challenges. As a result, we will gather data and community input in the coming months to plan a new bus service network with the goal of better serving our riders.
What is Realign?
AC Transit is reviewing how bus service works across our service area through the Realign plan. AC Transit Realign is an inclusive planning process that evaluates our existing service network and responds to changing travel patterns. This quantitative and qualitative assessment of AC Transit’s bus lines will gather both data and the rider feedback to develop a new network focused on riders and equity. Your feedback will tell us how well our service is currently operating, meeting your travel needs, and ultimately how to realign our service. The Realign process will also require analyzing post-pandemic revenue losses, funding shortfalls, and Bus Operator workforce challenges to right-size our operations.
AC Transit Realign also permits our transit district to overhaul service policies and standards, aligning our guidelines with current transit conditions and industry best practices. In doing so, we reaffirm our decades-long commitment to equity and better position the future of how we deliver bus service.
- Assess today’s travel patterns and the community’s current AC Transit service needs.
- Implement an inclusive planning process that incorporates quantitative and qualitative data along with rider and community feedback – including the voices of hard-to-reach equity communities.
- Align service schedules, coverage, and frequencies based on major needs identified by the community, riders, travel pattern data, finances, and workforce availability.
- Update our service standards with best practices for the design of our bus service.
We are updating our service to meet the travel patterns of the new normal. The pandemic led to a historic decline in riders, which resulted in unprecedented fare loss. AC Transit sought and received federal relief funds to keep bus lines moving. After three years, however, ridership has not returned to pre-pandemic levels and relief funds will soon be exhausted. As of March 2023, AC Transit’s overall ridership is 69% of pre-pandemic levels. As Bay Area employers continue to operate remote and hybrid work schedules, we forecast that our ridership and fare recovery will continue to be adversely affected. To save East Bay transit, we must now assess the needs of current riders and travel patterns with new focus on where, when, and how we deliver bus service.
AC Transit is facing what’s being called a “fiscal cliff” or budget shortfall. Why? The onboard fareboxes capture a small percentage of the dollars needed to operate our transit district. And as the graph below highlights, we rely on a variety of public funding subsidies to support operations. As a result, without a substantial increase in fare revenues and subsidies (regional, state, and federal), AC Transit may be forced to consider service cuts.
Phases & Timeline*
*Timeline is preliminary and subject to change
Phase 1 - Develop Plans and Learn Rider Needs
Dates: March - June 2023
Realign begins with a thorough analysis of current AC Transit service area conditions. The habits, needs, concerns, and priorities of riders and community members will be identified during this phase through quantitative data review, customer survey responses, and feedback through robust outreach. This phase encourages survey participation, which begins April 17, 2023. The survey will help us understand what’s important, identify priority destinations/connections, and weigh trade-offs/priorities that will inform the development of a draft set of guiding principles.
Phase 2 - Aligning Guiding Principles with Community Assessment
Dates: July - August 2023
This phase will solicit and incorporate feedback from riders, community members and AC Transit’s Board of Directors on the draft guiding principles developed from information gathered in Phase 1. In this phase, a final Guiding Principles document will be adopted by the Board and will establish the support, clarity, and direction for the development of Realign (new bus service network plan).
Phase 3 - Develop Service Scenarios and Gather Feedback
Dates: September - December 2023
Based on the feedback and direction from the first two phases, this phase presents draft service scenarios that offer alternative configurations of AC Transit’s routes and schedules throughout our service area. This is an important opportunity for our riders and community to provide feedback on these service scenarios.
Phase 4 - Draft Final Service Plan and Plan Adoption
Dates: January - April 2024
Following the comprehensive review of data and community input on the draft scenarios, a draft Final Service Plan will be created, including an extensive update to AC Transit’s Service Standards. The draft Final Service Plan will be shared with the community during a formal public comment process. The Realign process will culminate with review and a formal vote by the AC Transit Board of Directors. An Equity Analysis (under Title VI of the American Civil Rights Act) will ensure that any negative impacts on both minority and low-income populations will be identified and presented for approval on a parallel track.
Phase 5 - Develop Service Standards and Inform Riders about Service Changes
Dates: April - September 2024
Once the Final Service Plan and updated Service Standards are approved, the new service is expected to begin in August 2024. In this final phase, robust promotion will educate riders and community members on how to use the new service network. The updated service policies and standards will help guide future planning and monitoring of AC Transit’s service network. These standards, including hours, days of operation, frequency, and location of bus routes, will guide how service we will operate on the streets and in neighborhoods throughout the AC Transit service area. The standards are based upon multiple factors, including equity, land use, population density, access to jobs, commercial activity, and major attractors such as schools, hospitals, and grocery stores.
AC Transit invites you to participate in the planning process by visiting this web page for the latest information, community engagement events, survey access, register for, and attending our workshops.
Board of Directors Realign Workshop (Hybrid)
Date: Wednesday, September 13
Time: 5 pm
This meeting is available in-person and via zoom. Virtual option is encouraged due to limited space capacity in the Board room.
HOW TO ATTEND
Virtual: You will be able to attend via Zoom at https://actransit.zoom.us/j/98487175063, or by telephone at (669) 900 6833, using Webinar ID: 984 8717 5063.
In Person: 1600 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA, 2nd Floor Board Room
AC Transit Community Workshop
Date: Tuesday, August 15
Time: 6-7:30 pm
This will be a multilingual meeting with Spanish and Chinese interpretation held online via Zoom. Dedicated Spanish only and Chinese only language lines available for callers joining via landlines or regular cell phones.
The Realign survey has closed. The results of the survey will be used to update our bus service network. Thank you for your participation.
Connect with Us
Stay connected by following us on our social channels, reaching out via phone/email.
Community Project Line:
(510) 267-5631 (English)
(510) 267-5632 (Spanish)
(510) 267-5633 (Chinese)
(510) 267-5634 (Vietnamese)
Existing Conditions Materials
- Interactive Story Map on Existing Conditions
- Existing Conditions Executive Summary
- Service Profile
- Market Analysis
- Origin-Destination Analysis Memo
- Ridership Summary Memo
- Individual Route Profiles (Fall 2019)
- Individual Route Profiles (Fall 2022)
- Survey Results Technical Memo
- Outreach and Engagement Summary
- Guiding Principles Memo