While I was reporting “Finding a home on Hotel 22” about the way some homeless use Line 22 in Santa Clara County as a shelter, I looked up the bus line on Yelp. I found a bunch of reviews, mostly from regular riders of the bus.
People said pretty typical things, like “love those fast aggressive male drivers” and “bus drivers please lower the bus so I can get my bike on the rack easier.”
But the one that caught my eye was from Helen Garcia. She wrote:
I’m on the Valley Transportation Authority’s Line 22 bus somewhere between East San Jose and Palo Alto. It’s 2:30 AM, and it’s raining. I start a conversation with a man sitting down, and ask him if he’s heard the nickname for the bus.
“Yeah, well there's the Motel 22 or Hotel 22. That's the big one I've heard.”
I ask him what he calls the bus.
“I call it home.”
That’s Michael Garber. He’s spending the night on the bus with his wife, Elizabeth.
East Bay bus agency AC Transit doesn’t have the ridership or wide-reaching reputation of BART or San Francisco’s Muni. But about 100,000 people take an AC Transit bus every day-- and those riders are disproportionately lower-income, elderly, and less likely to own a car.
Over the past few years, the AC Transit has seen deep service cuts and major fare increases. At two dollars and ten cents, it’s the Bay Area’s most expensive most expensive local bus ride.
AC Transit’s Board of Directors will vote on a new fare structure today that would raise some fares. Local advocates are protesting the increase, saying it disproportionately affects lower-income riders and other vulnerable groups.
The new fare structure --which would go into effect this summer-- would get rid of transfers in favor of day passes and raising the price for youth and senior monthly passes from $20 to $23. Meanwhile, the adult monthly pass would drop in price from $80 to $75.