AC Transit heard a proposal to replace its popular F line, which connects Berkeley to Emeryville, Oakland and San Francisco, at a meeting of its board of directors Wednesday.
The F line would be replaced with a shorter, more frequent line that would run on the south side of the UC Berkeley campus and bypass a busy corridor of the Emeryville commercial district, according to a report presented to a group of transbay passengers last week.
The new service, however, is a long way from being implemented. According to AC Transit spokesperson Clarence Johnson, the organization’s board of directors still needs to decide whether or not to proceed with the proposal. If it decides to proceed, AC Transit will hold a public hearing and several community meetings for public comment.
Johnson says the changes are “months away, if at all,” but he stressed the need to constantly re-evaluate the bus system.
“Living patterns and transportation patterns change over time,” Johnson said. “People want them to stay the same, but they don’t. We need to formulate something to address those changes, and that’s what the report does.”
Chris Peeples, AC Transit director at large, raised concerns that the proposed route, which would run through the Telegraph corridor into Oakland, is not an adequate replacement for the F line.
“They’re changing the route that covers a good bit of the polar areas of Berkeley,” Peeples said. “But from Shattuck to Market (in Oakland) is a lower-income area, so that gives me some concern.”
Peeples also wants to see a Title VI analysis on the proposal, referring to the 1964 federal legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin. Johnson said an analysis would be conducted if the board moves forward with the proposal.
Berkeley resident Ken Niemi voiced concerns about the proposed route through Emeryville, which would bypass a popular commercial area.
“On weekends, I use (the F line) a lot to get to downtown Emeryville for shopping and entertainment,” Niemi said. “I use AC Transit for all my transportation needs. And there always seems to be a dozen or so Cal students going to Target or Ikea.”
Although the proposed transbay route would not reach the north side of the Berkeley campus, it would run more frequently than the F line.
“I don’t know how much more often these guys can actually stop,” said UC Berkeley student Nicole Morris, who uses the F line to commute from Oakland. “I would love an F that came more frequently.”
UC Berkeley students voted this spring to extend an agreement with AC Transit that provides unlimited rides to students for a semesterly fee. The agreement is set to continue through 2020.