AC Transit opens new 51C bus route to take students through campus

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Sydney Chang/Staff

A new bus route is set to roll out on campus in the following weeks, aimed at supporting students who need to travel all the way across campus to get between classes, AC Transit announced in a statement Sunday.

“We are very cognizant of the needs of UC Berkeley’s student body,” said AC Transit spokesperson Miles Elgort. “We’ve already drafted out a tentative route that we believe will meet those needs.”

The new 51C went through its first trial run Thursday, driving through campus to test out potential paths.

Currently, the tentatively planned route is set to include stops at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, the Amazon Student Store, the Golden Bear Cafe, Sather Gate and Dwinelle Hall. It then heads up past the Campanile, stopping at various points along the way, eventually ending at the Haas School of Business.

The new line would have a similar schedule to the other bus lines in the 51 series, running from 5 a.m. to midnight. It will come every 15 minutes, and assuming there is no traffic, is projected to take upwards of an hour to travel from end to end.

Critics argue that this is due to the unnecessarily large number of stops.

“Uhhhh,” said campus junior Melissa Chen. “Can’t you just walk that far in like less than half as much time?”

AC Transit is currently unresolved as to how the buses will operate given high volumes of pedestrian traffic, especially between classes when the demand will be the greatest.

“Delays will be inevitable,” Elgort said. “Though the student body should be used to that by now, given the typical experiences with the 51B.”

Experts suggested implementing extra loud horns to cut down on the excessive travel time — to “blare at the sheeple,” as put by AC Transit Chief Analyst Harry Hertz. 

At the moment, the projected route for the 51C will only cover the southern side of campus.

“We will be looking into rolling out the 51D on Northside in the coming months as we see how this first new bus route goes,” Hertz said. “We are excited to take public transportation to the next level, one Berkeley building at a time.”

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Contact Jonathan Lai at [email protected].