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East Bay Bus Service May Partner With BART To Save Money

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AC Transit Bus

An AC Transit bus. (Photo courtesy: acgov.org)

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OAKLAND (KCBS) – Ongoing cuts at the Alameda – Contra Costa Transit District have officials considering whether some parts of its bus operation could be turned over to Bay Area Rapid Transit.

The familiar green and white buses would still run throughout the East Bay to places BART trains do not reach, while certain aspects of the two transit systems’ management is combined, officials said.

“Describing it as a full consolidation or a merger is very premature,” said Mary King, interim general manager of AC Transit.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

King said the idea of somehow joining the East Bay’s two largest transit districts to lower operating costs emerged from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Transit Sustainability Project.

Regional planners believe the money each county spends on its own public transportation system may be a significant factor in the long-term viability of Bay Area public transit overall.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission bailed out AC Transit this year with $24.5 million of federal money originally intended for maintenance on buses and trains throughout the Bay Area.

Former state Senator Don Perata supports making BART the center of a regional public transportation system that carries commuters from the cities where they live to the cities where they work.

“Right now, we’ve got BART. That’s the spine of our transit system. And then from BART you begin to look at everything else we’re doing and see how that fits in,” he said.

Eliminating redundancies in areas such as human resources and legal counsel would free up millions of dollars that could be directed towards keeping buses on the road, Perata said.

AC Transit cut service on nearly all of its lines last year, in addition to eliminating dozens of administrative positions. Fares go up Aug. 1.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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