by Anneli Rufus
Berkeley should have its own low-cost bus system outside the realm of AC Transit, according to a lifelong Berkeley resident who will discuss his proposal for this system, the "B-Line," during a community forum at the Berkeley Public Library's Central Branch tonight.
Full disclosure: This Berkeley citizen, Kristan Lawson, is a relative of mine. He created his concept for the B-Line not because he wants to run it himself — but rather because he sees Berkeley riders as the victims of recent cuts in AC Transit service and proposed cuts to take place later this year.
"For years, I've heard my fellow riders gripe about AC Transit and the way it's been continuously cutting service," said Kristan Lawson, a Berkeley native who has never driven, much less owned, a car. "I understand that these cuts are for the most part not entirely AC Transit's fault. Its funding has been slashed — but, for whatever reason, the time has come to create a transit system designed with Berkeley's needs in mind."
His plan, to be aired at a forum beginning at 6 p.m. tonight in the library's Community Meeting Room, includes several proposed routes connecting highly trafficked parts of town. Fares would be $1, and a downtown route would be free, patterned after a similar service in downtown Oakland and the free shuttles linking the Walnut Creek BART station to downtown Walnut Creek. Whether the B-Line would be privately or publicly funded is up for discussion, as is nearly everything else about the project.
"The B-Line is in its first-draft stage," Lawson said. "I hope people will come to the forum and give me their ideas about how it can come to fruition."