OAKLAND (KCBS) – AC Transit weekend service has been cut in half and most of its overnight runs eliminated to save the struggling agency about $11 million, following the board’s unanimous vote Wednesday night.
Riders complained that the cuts taking effect in December will end weekend service to entire cities such as Piedmont and Newark. The main corridors will not be affected under the changes.
“All of this was done with great reluctance, and it was done simply because the board felt that our financial condition was such that they had no alternatives,” said AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson.
The cuts will completely eliminate four of the six lines that run between midnight and 5 a.m.
The agency has also sought labor concessions from its drivers to close an estimated $40 million deficit. A contract imposed on Amalgamated Transit Union was overturned by a judge.
Bus operators complained they have been unfairly scapegoated by management because of the agency’s budget problems.
“This is ridiculous what you’re doing. You’re holding the customers hostage, trying to make it our fault,” said Ann Boyd, a driver with ATU Local 192.
The board decided to wait until December to vote on whether to outsource more of its paratranist. Turning over operations of its service for seniors and the disabled would save about $250,000 million a year.