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This page gives the exact route of each proposed line, and a brief description of the rationale for why the line is needed. At the bottom of the page is a route map for reference; for higher-resolution versions, visit the Route Map page.

Avoiding direct overlap of A.C. Transit lines

Existing A.C. Transit bus lines may be insufficient and/or infrequent, but they aren’t entirely useless. In fact, some basic and logical routes are already covered at least partly by current A.C. Transit lines. Because of this, the B-Line routes listed here have been designed to “fill in the gaps” of existing service, and/or to improve service along an under-served route or area.

Specifically, the A.C. Transit 51, 18, 72, 1, F, 65 and 7 routes already do provide some coverage to specific streets and corridors, which explains why the proposed B-Line routes do not follow such “obvious” streets as San Pablo, College, Arlington, Euclid, south Shattuck, etc.

Instead, the proposed B-Line routes are designed to facilitate the kind of trips the average person would want to take within Berkeley, rather than be components of a larger region-wide transportation plan (as are many of the A.C. Transit routes). There will unavoidably be some overlap between the B-Line and A.C. Transit, but in no case is an existing A.C. Transit line simply duplicated. If, however, A.C. Transit continues to cut service, then the B-Line can grow to take over any useful route that A.C. abandons.

Fares

B-Line fares should be kept affordable to make the system appealing to as many people as possible. The standard fare for most of the lines will be exactly $1 per ride — no transfers. Get on a bus, pay a dollar — that’s it. Keeping the fare structure simple and immediately understandable like this makes the B-Line all the more enticing. (Students, seniors and the disabled pay only 50¢ per ride.) Two lines have special fares: The B1 Downtown Shuttle should be free; and the B7 Hill Circuit will have a $2 “excursion fare.”

B-Line Proposed Bus Routes

B1
Downtown/Gourmet Ghetto/Telegraph Trolley
Route: Shattuck-Rose-Shattuck-Durant-Bowditch-Bancroft-Shattuck
Fare: Free

    The Downtown Trolley is the simplest and most useful line in the system, ferrying people back and forth between north Shattuck, downtown, and Telegraph. It also will be the main access point for tourists and visitors arriving by BART and seeking to visit either Gourmet Ghetto and/or southside. It connects Berkeley’s three main central shopping districts, and will serve a similar function as the successful downtown shuttle in Walnut Creek and the new downtown shuttle in Oakland. Optimally, this one route in the B-Line system should be free to ride, possibly subsidized in part by various business associations and the University. A free shuttle awaiting BART riders would be a wonderful municipal welcome mat and an advertisement to visit Berkeley.

B2
North Berkeley Circle Line
Route: Shattuck-University-Sacramento-North Berkeley BART-Acton-University-San Pablo-Solano-The Alameda- MLK Way-Rose-Shattuck (runs both directions)
Fare: $1

    The North Berkeley Circle Line will function as the circulatory system for the north half of the city, delivering people in both directions along four main intersecting thoroughfares: Shattuck, Solano, San Pablo and University. The B2 line combines elements of the A.C. Transit 18, 72 and 51 lines into a complete circuit which makes it much more useful than any of those three lines on their own. Current A.C. Transit riders know how frustrating it can be that there is no decent bus that travels along San Pablo and then turns up University, or a bus that travels up University and then turns north on Shattuck; and so on. The B2 line completes the circle and makes shopping, commuting and moving around in north Berkeley much easier.

B3
Fourth Street Shuttle
Route: Shattuck-University-Sacramento-North Berkeley BART-Acton-University-Fourth Street-Gilman-Eighth Street-U.C. Village
Fare: $1

    The Fourth Street shopping district is becoming more and more of a major attraction bringing people to Berkeley — not just locals, but people from throughout the region and international visitors. And all signs indicate that it will continue to grow as a shopping hub — Apple is set to open one of its landmark computer stores on Fourth Street next year. And yet, there is no dedicated bus bringing shoppers and tourists to Fourth Street from BART and downtown. (True, the A.C. Transit 51 line terminates just two blocks away from the Fourth Street shopping area, but few visitors know this, it is not well advertised, it does not actually take people all the way to the shopping area, and the 51 is usually delayed, off-schedule and overcrowded.) The Fourth Street Shuttle will be advertised as a direct bus taking people straight to the heart of the shopping district from either BART station, which will make it much more enticing for people to visit Berkeley via BART rather than driving their cars with all the attendant parking, congestion and pollution problems. As a bonus, the B3 line will continue past Fourth Street and will serve lower Gilman (Pyramid Brewery, 924 Gilman club, etc.) and go all the way to Albany village, functioning as an extra shuttle for the many U.C. residents who live there and need to commute to the main campus.

B4
Emeryville Express
Route: Shattuck-Dwight-San Pablo-Ashby-Seventh Street-Folger-Hollis-65th Street-Shellmound
Fare: $1

    One of the most glaring deficiencies in the A.C. Transit system is the inaccessibility of Emeryville. From central Berkeley, there is currently no direct bus to Emeryville, and the only A.C. Transit buses of any kind that visit the various Emeryville malls and shopping districts arrive there solely from West Oakland or San Francisco, and are therefore useless to Berkeley residents. Even though Berkeley borders on Emeryville, the only way to get there via A.C. Transit is to take two separate bus trips (e.g. 49 -> 72) followed by a long walk; or take BART to MacArthur and transfer to Emery Go-Round. The B4 Emeryville Express route solves this frustrating problem by providing an express bus that takes shoppers, workers and commuters directly from downtown Berkeley to the heart of Emeryville. Simultaneously, the B4 line will serve as a useful general-purpose bus for south Berkeley.

B5
Southside/Claremont Route
Route: Shattuck-Dwight-Telegraph-Ashby-Claremont Hotel
Fare: $1

    Currently the only bus which serves the Claremont district in Berkeley is the A.C. Transit 49 line, an almost incomprehensible route which A.C. Transit keeps altering and downgrading, and which few people understand or use. At this rate, it is likely that A.C. will eventually cancel the 49. Furthermore, there is no existing bus which travels down Telegraph and then turns east on Ashby. The B5 fills in this service gap by providing a quick and easy and clear way to get from downtown and southside to the Claremont region. It also will be a fast way to get to the Elmwood district, without having to get caught in the endless traffic jams on College Avenue, which often bring A.C.’s 51 line to a crawl.

B6
Shasta/Grizzly Loop
Route: Shattuck-Cedar-La Loma-Glendale-Campus-Shasta-Grizzly Peak-Avenida-Campus-Glendale-La Loma-Cedar-Shattuck
Fare: $1

    The B6 Shasta/Grizzly Loop is a streamlined and improved revival of the once-loved and now long-gone A.C. Transit 8 line. While residents who live in the comparatively flat western half of the city have at least the option of walking to work, BART or shopping, those who live in the hills know that it’s practically impossible to walk up from Shattuck to Grizzly Peak, especially if you are carrying anything. Because of this, hill-area residents are compelled to be overly reliant on private vehicles, because the sole A.C. Transit line which serve the hills, the 65, runs very infrequently and only covers some areas. Many seniors, students, and home-care workers need public transit to the hills because they do not have their own vehicles. (After-school 65 runs are usually standing-room only, jampacked with students returning home.) And many workers and commuters wish there was an easy way to get to and from BART from the hills. The B6 line fills this need perfectly. It essentially follows the same path as the now-canceled A.C. Transit 8, with two big improvements: First, it travels down Shattuck and up Cedar, which for the first time allows people to visit north Shattuck shopping areas from the hills; and second, it streamlines some of the original 8 line’s unnecessary zigzags at the top of the route.

B7
Tilden/Hills Circuit
Route: Shattuck-Rose-Spruce-Canon Drive-Central Park Drive-Wildcat Canyon Road-Shasta-Golf Course Road-Centennial Drive- Stadium Rim Way-Canyon Road-Prospect-Channing-Piedmont-Bancroft-Shattuck
Fare: $2

    Berkeley has a magnificent regional park bordering its eastern edge, but incredibly, there is almost no way to access it via public transit! The only A.C. Transit bus which in any way serves Tilden Park is the nearly useless, once-an-hour alternate weekend route of the 67, which only runs two days a week — Saturday and Sunday. Something needs to be done to rectify this absurd lack of access, which denies outdoor/wilderness experiences to the majority of Berkeley residents who do not drive. The B7 line comes to the rescue, bringing Tilden visitors straight from downtown Berkeley to the heart of the park on a daily basis, starting at the Little Farm and Jewel Lake in the north passing many picnic sites, the Merry-Go-Round, Lake Anza, the Botanical Garden, and continuing on to where even the 67 never goes, to the Golf Course, and then providing access to U.C.’s MSRI research center, the Lawrence Hall of Science, the U.C. Botanical Garden, Strawberry Canyon, and then returning to downtown. (The type of vehicle used for this route should have extra area designated for carrying bicycles, since it is likely to be popular with bicyclists.) Because this is far and away the B-LIne’s longest route, it may be necessary to charge an “excursion fare” of $2 (which, actually, is still equal to the standard single-ride A.C. Transit fare) to help compensate for the extra fuel usage. Hopefully, the East Bay Regional Park District and the University of California will help to subsidize this route, since it benefits them directly. And lastly, the B7 will also add supplemental daily service to the north hills area for students, seniors and commuters.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. John Holland permalink
    October 22, 2010 8:12 am

    I think the B1 should include Elmwood. Elmwood is also a key shopping district. There are so many times that my errands include stops in both Elmwood and Telegraph, or even Elmwood and north Berkeley. Route TBD.

    It seems like people on the edges of the system have to work harder to benefit from it. (I live in Elmwood) They either have to walk a long way, or ride ac transit into the system, paying twice. Especially troublesome for the elderly or disabled who would benefit most from such a system, and have the least means for paying twice.

    That said, BRAVO. A+ for all your thinking and hard work. This is the kind of dialog we want to have. Not “if?”, but “how?”!

    Thank you for an amazing effort!

  2. October 22, 2010 8:38 am

    John:

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    As for the Elmwood, the proposed B5 line passes through the heart of Elmwood and picks people up at College and Ashby — but instead of inching down College at 3mph like the AC Transit 51 bus, the B-Line’s B5 zips down Ashby, turns right on Telegraph, and drops you off at Dwight or Haste.

    (A tiny detail I just noticed that needs fixing the next time we update the route map: The B5 will have to go down Haste on the return part of its journey, since Dwight is one-way heading east between Shattuck and Telegraph.)

    Anyway, the B5 line solves all your problems — it will indeed whisk you from Elmwood to Telegraph and back, a lot faster than any AC Transit route. And for half the price!

  3. October 22, 2010 10:30 am

    It seems to me that South Berkeley is largely ignored. I’d send the B4 down Shattuck/Adeline/Ashby.

    • October 22, 2010 11:25 am

      Yes, having the B4 go down Adeline instead of Dwight/Ashby/Seventh is a definite possibility. But I realized that the A.C. Transit “F” bus already goes partway down Adeline, so if the B4 did the same thing, it would partly duplicate/overlap the F. So I designed the Emeryville Express to purposely not overlap the F, to maximize the number of streets covered.

      On the other hand, the F doesn’t run very often, so maybe it needs beefing up. And the main point is that the F now turns on Market and no longer even continues to San Pablo, much less Shellmound or Bay, so it doesn’t do any good at all in getting to Emeryville.

      As I mentioned, the routes shown here are not set in stone, and if the residents of South Berkeley prefer that the Emeryville Express/B4 run down Adeline/Stanford/Powell/Shellmound, then I’m all for it!

    • john permalink
      October 22, 2010 1:25 pm

      i like the B5 now that i get it… it would be nice if it ran closer to telegraph (which would also faciliate transfer to to the B1.

      i agree that South Berkeley is largely ignored.

  4. Nelcie permalink
    October 26, 2010 11:05 am

    I’m a SW Berkeley resident (near Ashby and San Pablo)and would love to see more service on Ashby. I like the idea of moving the B4 to Ashby (not Adeline). The 49 (which replaced the very useful 9) doesn’t run regularly and is unreliable. From where I live, it’s faster to walk to Ashby BART than wait for a 49.
    I would also advocate for some service to connect more of Sacramento Ave. Right now the 88 stops at University, so if you need to get across town you have to transfer to the 52, and that only goes to Cedar. Not sure which proposed line to modify, but it would be great to see service all the way to Sacto/Hopkins.
    This is such a wonderful idea and I hope that it takes off!

    • October 26, 2010 2:29 pm

      Having more service in SW Berkeley is definitely an option. Some people have expressed a strong preference for the B4 to go down Adeline to Powell; others want it on Ashby; and others prefer Dwight. Perhaps the only solution is to add an extra line that fills in all the gaps left by whatever routing decision is made for the B4.

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