To improve the reliability of AC Transit’s 51B bus line, several bus stops in Berkeley were removed or relocated as of last week.
A stop on Durant Avenue and two others on University Avenue were removed. Additionally, three stops on University Avenue, two stops on Durant Avenue and one stop on College Avenue were moved across the street to the opposite side of the intersection.
According to AC Transit spokesperson Clarence Johnson, the bus stops’ relocation will allow bus drivers to get in and out of the stops more easily without blocking the traffic behind them.
AC Transit decided upon these changes using the criteria of improving the reliability and on-time performance of the bus line, Johnson said.
The stop changes were part of AC Transit’s project started in 2006 that aims to reduce delays and improve reliability of the 51 line, which runs from the terminus of Berkeley Amtrak to Broadway in Alameda. In 2008, the project’s task force published a report on service analysis and recommendations.
The report suggested that changes be made to the bus stops in the line’s most congested segments and recommended that the route be split into two to isolate delays and prevent them from affecting the rest of the route. This division, which led to the now-separated 51A and 51B bus lines, was carried out in 2010.
According to the report, bus stops on University Avenue, Bancroft Avenue and Durant Avenue are on average spaced less than 700 feet apart, instead of the 800- to 1,300-feet spacing suggested by the AC Transit guidelines. The report recommended the removal of some bus stops on the 51 line because too densely located bus stops require constant acceleration and deceleration, which may slow down the bus.
Karen Sugano, a UC Berkeley alumna who lives near the relocated bus stop on College Avenue at Parker Street, said the relocated stop is now less convenient because it is farther away from her apartment. She said, however, that the relocation means that she no longer has to cross the street in front of a bus and that cars behind the bus can see her.
According to Johnson, these stops were selected based on permission from the city of Berkeley, as well as opinions from residents and shop owners who would be affected by the changes. AC Transit will closely monitor the traffic flow and population pattern and make further improvements if needed, he said.
Contact Tianyi Dong at [email protected].