AC Transit, facing $56-million budget shortfall, makes major service cuts

Bus agency it will 'retain, even enhance' service to communities in need

Facing a projected $56 million budget shortfall by June of 2011, AC Transit has announced it will be making perhaps its broadest service changes ever on March 28.

The Oakland-based bus agency, which serves parts of Alameda and Contra Costa counties, said the service changes will impact 108 bus lines, reducing overall service hours by about 8 percent and saving it about $9.5 million annually.

However, AC Transit said that even though the changes are unprecedented and will be felt throughout its services areas it has taken care to retain and even enhance services for communities who are most in need.

Interim General Manager Mary King said in a statement: "We did a lot of analysis on who rides the bus, how the service is used and what kind communities need the service the most. We worked hard to leave no one out."

AC Transit said that given the service reductions that were forced by its bleak fiscal picture, it chose not to simply reduce service hours and is instead reshuffling them, line-by-line, based on demonstrated usage and functionality.

In addition to making the service adjustments, the bus agency has laid off some employees, imposed a hiring freeze, improved operating and departmental efficiencies by 15 percent and raised fares to help offset its projected deficit.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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