A new proposal being considered by the AC Transit Board of Directors to cut the system’s F line could mean the end of a direct and economical bus route to Emeryville, a premier destination for shopping and dining for many UC Berkeley students. This is cause for concern.
In place of the F line, AC Transit is considering a shorter, more frequent transbay line that would run through the south side of the UC Berkeley campus and down Telegraph Avenue into Oakland. This line, however, would not run to the north side of Berkeley.
This spring, UC Berkeley students voted to keep the Cal 1 Card Class Pass in order to continue to be able to travel around Berkeley and the rest of the Bay Area. Emeryville, for example, is home to Ikea and Target, which are both staples for college students’ shopping needs. With the F line, students who work or live in Emeryville have a direct route to and from campus.
Without the F line, students will have to find alternative methods to travel to Emeryville — methods that might be expensive and time-consuming due to the lack of a BART station there.
The F is also a way for students to travel to the edge of downtown San Francisco for free instead of taking BART, which costs a minimum round-trip price of $7.40 to get to Embarcadero station.
Additionally, there are already multiple buses that frequently run through Berkeley and into Oakland — including the 1 and 1R, which go down Telegraph, and the 51A and 51B, which head down College Avenue in both directions. Adding another bus line would serve little purpose other than possibly creating a faster way for students to travel around Southside.
AC Transit leadership is rightfully cautious in regards to cutting the line. Chris Peeples, the system’s director at large, expressed reservations about the proposed Telegraph line being an adequate replacement for the F line. Peeples also said that an analysis of Title IV — the 1964 federal legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin — needs to be conducted before any further decisions are made regarding the F line. We agree with Peeples.
The board of directors will hold a public hearing as well as several community meetings before making its final decision. But it needs to make sure that students and the ASUC are adequately represented at these meetings and notified about them before the beginning of the fall 2013 semester.
UC Berkeley students voted to keep the Class Pass for a reason. The AC Transit board needs to heed the concerns of students when making its final decision regarding the fate of the F line.