January 16, 2006

Best damn idea I've ever heard!

I was just looking up bus schedules when I discovered that AC Transit has implemented what the Bay Area has desperately needed for years: the all-night transbay bus. It's AC Transit line 800, and it leaves the Van Ness Muni stop every hour between 1:00 and 5:00 am. It passes the Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery, and Embarcadero BART stations, and heads to the East Bay passing Macarthur, Ashby, Downtown Berkeley, and Richmond BART stations along the way. The westbound bus also leaves once an hour and traces the same route in reverse.

Hot shit! This is fantastic! A transbay bus ride costs $3.50. A cab from the city to Berkeley costs ten times that, and a cab from Berkeley to the city (should you ever need one) is a thing about which to keep dreaming.

Now, mind you, if you miss the 2:03 bus by five minutes you'll still find yourself deeply unhappy while you wait an hour on Market Street for the next one. Still, if you pay attention to the time and leave your concert/party/bar/other well-mannered frivolity accordingly, you now have 100% more good ways to get home. Best of all, if you're a Berkeley student, as many of the people taking this bus will be, you don't even need to make sure to save $3.50 of your carousing money for the fare. Just have your student ID with bus pass sticker, and get home free and safely.

The new bus line is part of an all-night bus network being funded by the recent bridge toll increase. All hail, I say. This is the sort of public service for which I will pay extra taxes, fares, fees, and other financial incursions, and pay them happily at that. When Jacob and I drive to the city tonight I will fork over my $3 with a smile on my face. Thanks, guys.

Posted by dianna at January 16, 2006 01:36 PM

That's quite handy. I recall there used to be some sort of all-night transbay service that could eventually get you to Berkeley, but I believe it involved taking a line that deposited you in the middle of dowtown Oakland, there to wait for another bus that goes up to Berkeley. Dowtown Oakland not being the sort of place you want to hang out at 2 in the morning waiting for a bus, this was a less than ideal option.

Posted by: Zach S. at January 16, 2006 02:43 PM

The old Transbay bus ran all night from downtown Oakland, outside 19th Street BART. It took you to the Transbay Terminal, but you were on your own to get to downtown Oakland (though the 51 runs all night), and from the Terminal to anywhere else in the city. I used it quite often, but it admittedly did take forever.

Posted by: sean at January 16, 2006 05:46 PM

Huh! I never knew. All those times I could have... no, wait, I never go out anywhere, so I wouldn't have. Still, it's nice to know I could have taken it.

Posted by: Dianna at January 17, 2006 08:39 AM

So how long does it take to get from Van Ness to Downtown Berkeley at three in the morning?

Posted by: Danny at January 17, 2006 09:44 AM

I've only gone the opposite direction. If you time things absolutely perfectly, you could get from Downtown Berkeley to the Transbay Terminal in 50 minutes. The 51 leaves once per hour, and it catches the Transbay before it leaves. My best estimate would be 1.5-2.5 hours, total.

Going the way you asked, it looks like it's about an hour and half, Van Ness to Downtown Berkeley, but you have to leave by 2:30.

Posted by: sean at January 17, 2006 01:14 PM

Out of curiosity, why were you often taking public transportation from Berkeley to SF at 3 in the morning? I ask because the general movement of Cal students at 3 in the morning tends to be away from SF, not towards it, and it seems like there might be an interesting story there.

Posted by: Zach S. at January 17, 2006 01:41 PM

I am also curious about that.

And also, damn if this isn't good to know.

Posted by: katie at January 17, 2006 02:02 PM

Sean lives in SF now. Has for at least a couple years, to my knowledge.

The most recent four months of which, he and I have lived under the same roof.

Posted by: Danny at January 17, 2006 04:27 PM