After serving on the AC Transit Board of Directors for a total of 23 years, Chris Peeples is seeking reelection this November.
The AC Transit Board of Directors is one of the few transit agencies in the county that has a directly elected board. Victoria Fierce and Dollene Jones have stepped up to run against incumbent Peeples in the 2020 general election.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time and I do it well,” Peeples said. “I’ve helped AC Transit through three recessions, which is good experience for what’s going on right now.”
Public transportation across the country has been hit with less ridership across different modes of transportation. Peeples said the federal coronavirus relief bill will keep the transit agency afloat until the end of the fiscal year, although he added that when June arrives the situation will be “scary.”
Peeples said he has been working hard to keep AC Transit functioning through the COVID-19 pandemic by lobbying the federal government for more funding and being involved in cleaning processes aimed at keeping riders healthy.
One of Peeples’ biggest accomplishments is AC Transit’s zero-emissions program, for which the agency has been adding more hydrogen fuel cell buses to its fleet in order to reduce its carbon footprint, he said. Keeping the program going has been a hard fight but, according to Peeples, most agree that it is the “finest program in the world” of its kind.
In addition to the zero-emissions program, Peeples said he is an advocate for those who are dependent on transit in their everyday lives, not just those who use transit out of convenience.
During his years of experience, Peeples said he has learned that it is difficult to manage future goals while acknowledging the resources available to achieve them.
According to Darrell Owens, a volunteer for the equitable transit advocacy organization East Bay Transit Riders Union, while the union will not endorse any candidates for the upcoming election, Peeples has done a good job of addressing the crucial needs of transit riders.
Owens said, however, that changes need to be made in AC Transit, including improvement of mobile alerts and ETA machines, development of bus shelters at every stop and collaboration with other transit agencies in the region, such as BART, to establish the same fare rate across all modes of transportation.
“With 23 years under your belt, Peeples should start embracing some big solutions for expanding AC Transit beyond its current capacity,” Owens said.