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Oakland's Broadway Shuttle Risks Funding Loss, Discontinued Service

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Broadway's free B shuttle may discontinue service if the Bay Area Air Quality Management District decides to pull its funding.

Oakland's Broadway Shuttle service is currently at risk for discontinuation due to a possible funding loss of more than $350,000.

The funds, which come from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, provide for roughly a third of the shuttle's yearly operating costs. The remaining two-thirds comes from eight other sources in both public and private sectors.

BAAQMD staff have recommended that the district's Board of Directors discontinue funding of the shuttle - in the amount of $354,605 - on the basis that its current route duplicates existing AC Transit routes along Broadway. 

Zach Seal, Broadway Shuttle project manager at the city of Oakland, voiced concern over the recommendation, stressing the shuttle's contribution to transit ridership in Downtown Oakland.

"The B Shuttle has become part of the fabric of people's commute patterns," he said.

Two major AC Transit routes overlap partially with B Shuttle: the 72/72M/72R and the 51A. Nevertheless, Seal said that none of these routes provide the same comprehensive downtown circulation as the Broadway Shuttle.

Another feature unique to the shuttle is its frequency. While other buses along broadway are spaced 15 minutes apart or more, the shuttle stops every 10 minutes. To some drivers, Seal said, those five minutes could mean the difference between driving and riding transit.

And, as is widely known, the shuttle is free.

Opposition to the cuts extends beyond city officials. At a Jan. 24 meeting of the BAAQMD Mobile Source Committee, Robert Del Rosario of AC transit voiced his organization's opposition to the decision and requested more time to address the BAAQMD's proposal.

A 2011 AC Transit study found that the impact of the shuttle on AC Transit ridership along Broadway was slight, at only 143 rides per day. The current daily ridership of the shuttle is about 2,600. 

Members of the public are encouraged to attend a public hearing on the issue at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at 939 Ellis St. in San Francisco. The meeting will be on the seventh floor.

Alternately, those with written comments or concerns can send them to Sean Gallagher, Clerk of the Boards for the BAAMQD, at sgallagher@baaqmd.gov. 

For more information on the Broadway Shuttle, visit its official website.

Source: Oakland Local [http://m.oaklandlocal.com/article/oaklands-broadway-shuttle-risks-funding-loss-discontinued-service]

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