AC Transit declares fiscal emergency


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During this economic downturn riders across /*Alameda County*/ and parts of /*Contra Costa County*/ may need to rethink how they get around town. /*AC Transit*/ is considering cutting service by almost 15 percent to balance its budget. On Wednesday night, staff presented a plan to the agency's board. In order to make $18 million in service reductions, it proposes eliminating some lines completely, shortening other routes and running some buses less frequently. Some routes would also be expanded to fill in where some lines are cut.

Transit advocacy groups want to make sure AC Transit continues to offer enough bus service through low-income communities, where many residents rely heavily on public transportation. Even though a lot of research has been done to figure out which routes service the most passengers and which lines are least used, the cuts will be felt. In total, the plan recommends a weekday service reduction of 905 hours and cutting 458 hours of bus operation on weekends. AC Transit wants to give the public time to comment before adopting a reduced-service strategy in September. Any cuts wouldn't happen until January.

AC Transit is just one of many Bay Area transit agencies considering service cuts and raising fares. Factors hurting their operating budgets include state funding cuts and a drop in sales tax revenue.

A reminder -- AC Transit's fares go up between 15-to-25-cents a ticket, beginning next Wednesday July 1.

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