Oakland deserves Bus Rapid Transit

Joël Ramos Headshot

Old Oakland Farmers Market, photo Michael HalberstadtIn the past two years, Oakland has been named the "Most Exciting City in America,” the "5th Hippest City in the U.S.," and even recognized by the New York Times as #5 of their 2012 list of the "Places to Go in the World."

All the hype is well-deserved. But as Oakland’s reputation as a hub of innovation, sustainability, art, and food grows, it’s crucial that all Oakland residents feel the benefits – not just those living in the hip, often higher-income neighborhoods.

That’s why Oakland’s public transportation system should improve to best serve all its diverse and vibrant communities throughout the city, especially in the neighborhoods that need it most.

Oakland deserves better transit. Oakland deserves Bus Rapid Transit. 

Throughout Oakland, and particularly in lower-income neighborhoods, bus service is a lifeline that connects people to work, school, childcare, and doctors’ appointments, as well as to downtown restaurants, shopping, and parks. 20,000 people ride AC Transit’s 1/1R bus each day along International Boulevard in east Oakland, a region with a long list of challenges from a lack of grocery stores to high crime rates.

But there are too many times when the bus is delayed, gets stuck in traffic, or is too crowded to board. These issues leave people late, left behind, and with no other options. Oakland deserves a transit system that is reliable, affordable, and connects people to jobs, opportunity, and each other no matter what part of the city they live in. This transit system is Bus Rapid Transit.

TransForm and our allies worked hard for years to bring Bus Rapid Transit to the East Bay – and now it’s on its way.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a system that makes traveling by bus faster, more reliable, more frequent, and more comfortable. BRT buses would arrive every five minutes all day long, turning a 45-minute commute into a 30-minute one. And because the buses aren’t stuck in traffic, we aren’t stuck either. 

In 2012, the city of Oakland gave the green light to BRT along International Boulevard. The proposed route will connect Berkeley, Oakland, and San Leandro, and help make International Boulevard – and Oakland as a whole – a safer place to shop, walk, bike, take transit, and work.

BRT along International Boulevard will connect people to opportunity, and to each other.  

BRT is coming to Oakland – but we need your support to make it great!

The next step for BRT is to finalize the Business and Parking Sustainability Program, which was approved by AC Transit's Board of Directors this week and will be heard by the City of Oakland Public Works Committee on November 12. We’ll post more details on this blog as the meeting approaches, including how you can weigh in to help bring this revolutionary and well-deserved bus service to the East Bay.

Visit our website to learn more about BRT in Oakland, and sign up here to get updates on the project. For more information or if you have any questions, contact Geoffrey Johnson

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About This Blog

TransForum is the blog of TransForm, California's leading transportation advocate. For more about our work, including ways you can take action and contribute, visit TransFormCA.org.