AC Transit made a slate of changes to bus routes that will go into effect starting in August, including the extension of Line 7 and reduction of less traveled lines in Berkeley, as announced Thursday.
Line 7 will enter a 1-year trial period beginning August 6, restoring service to Ashby Avenue. Line 78, another route that just finished a 2-year pilot program, will not move forward as a permanent line.
Other changes include adjusted schedule times to “improve reliability,” according to the release. These adjustments will be no more than a few minutes apart from the current schedule, the release states.
Several lines near UC Berkeley campus, such as 51B and 79, will run less frequently throughout the day. Line 51B will run 15-minute cycles in the early mornings and late evenings, rather than its usual 12 minutes. Additionally, Line 79 will change from 30 to 36-minute cycles on weekends.
“We are working to better match service levels to bus operator availability,” AC Transit’s press release states. “It will mean some minor reductions in the frequency of many lines.”
AC Transit initially paused service along Ashby Avenue in August of 2020, when Line 80 shut down due to low ridership during the pandemic. Three years later, riders will be able to travel this road once more via Line 7. This new route will connect Ashby Avenue to both Downtown Berkeley and Emeryville via Bancroft Way, Durant Avenue and College Avenue, with buses available every 30 minutes.
The Line 78 closure, however, follows disappointing results from its 2-year pilot program. The line faced scheduling issues in transporting riders to Alameda’s Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal in accordance with the ferry’s set departure times, according to the release. AC Transit also cited low ridership as a concern, adding that riders can still access nearby areas using Lines 51A, 96 and O after the Line 78 suspension.
Additionally, transit lines intended for Berkeley public school students will open up again in the fall with minor changes.