By Kathy Chouteau
As the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) readies to reopen Mon., April 19, the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) has announced the reactivation of a number of supplementary bus lines—also known as the 600-series—to schools throughout the East Bay. Due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, the supplementary bus lines had been temporarily suspended since March 2020.
Following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s December 2020 announcement of the “Safe Schools for All” guidelines to reinstate in-person academic instruction, AC Transit worked to coordinate with East Bay school districts and independent school administrators to determine their reopening dates and has confirmed that multiple schools will reopen Monday.
With consideration toward bell times and instructional schedules, AC Transit has developed the following bus schedule for the WCCUSD: Juan Crespi Middle School, reactivated lines 669, 672, and 676, with three morning trips and eight afternoon trips; De Anza High School, reactivated lines 669 and 676, with one morning trip and five afternoon trips; Lovonya Dejean Middle School, reactivated Line 681, with two morning trips and four afternoon trips; and Korematsu Middle School, reactivated Line 684, with two morning trips and six afternoon trips.
As it restarts some of its supplementary bus lines, AC Transit cautions that its overall bus service is operating at approximately 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels and passenger capacity continues to be greatly reduced due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“AC Transit directly appeals to our student riders, parents and school administrators to partner with us in ensuring no more than 10 total passengers on our 40-foot standard buses and 16 total passengers on our 60-foot articulated buses,” said the transit district in a statement.
When the onboard count hits either the 10 or 16 passenger thresholds, the bus operator will change the external head-sign to “Drop-Off Only,” alerting awaiting riders that the bus will probably bypass the stop, per AC Transit. Requests to exit by onboard riders will continue to be recognized by the operator.
Those who have been bypassed by a bus can find out the capacity of the next one via the AC Transit Rider Capacity Feature by visiting actransit.org/ACTRealTime from a desktop or mobile device or by downloading the AC Transit official app for free on iOS and Android. Awaiting riders can also call Customer Service at 510-891-4777 and select option #2 or call 511.
AC Transit also advises that online and real-time schedules for the supplemental bus lines for the WCCUSD and other East Bay districts won’t be operable for the first few days. Technology disruptions are expected from Mon., April 19 through Fri., April 23 and the transit district states that it “is making every effort to accelerate this elaborate data input process for each reactivated supplementary bus line.”
In addition, COVID-19 guidelines under the Orange Tier require riders to continue to wear facemasks and maintain a six-foot social distance while onboard all AC Transit buses.
Click here for more info regarding time schedules and trip planning for AC Transit’s reactivated supplementary buses.