AC Transit fare hike warded off with nicer buses

Jul 26, 2013

AC Transit—the large bus agency that serves much of the East Bay—experienced a jump in ridership this year. Better on-time reliability and more efficient repairs lured in the passengers, according to the agency. 

Ridership is at 181,519 passengers a day. That’s a six percent increase from a year ago.

In a press release, AC Transit general manager David Armijo praised the workers. “We are proud of the efforts by our employees—especially the operators and maintenance staff. It seems we are starting to reap some benefits,’’ he said.

But back in 2008, AC Transit enjoyed a much higher daily ridership of 236,000 passengers. That was before the recession hit and the agency had to slash service and raise fares from $1.75 to $2, then again to $2.10, the current price of a bus ride. By 2009, daily ridership had fallen to 200,000. Last year, it was at 171,000.

In better times, spending money on better service has paid off. AC Transit says investments in new buses have raised service reliability, which was a chief complaint from passengers. Ridership is high enough that officials have canceled a fare hike that was scheduled for this July.

“Our aim is to attract more riders, and we will keep putting plans in place to do that,” said Armijo.