Plan to ex­pand late-night East Bay bus service

Expanded late night transbay bus service could be running in December if approved by two area transportation boards Wednesday evening and Thursday.

BART and Alameda-Contra Costa Transit have reached an agreement for AC Transit to expand its weekend late night bus service between San Francisco and the East Bay and for BART to provide funding and marketing for the project.

The AC Transit board of directors iswasscheduled to vote on the plan Wednesday evening, while the BART board will consider it Thursday morning.

If passed, AC Transit will run its existing late-night lines that run from San Francisco to Richmond and Fremont more frequently and add a line to the Pittsburg-Bay Point BART station.

The routes would also be lengthened in San Francisco to 24th and Mission streets. Buses would run every 20 minutes between 12:30 and 2:30 a.m., about the frequency of BART trains during non-commute hours.

BART developed the plan after studying since 2011 how to offer late night transit service. Agency officials found through polls that there was substantial support for late night transit service, but BART needs the overnight down time for daily track maintenance.

At one point, BART officials considered adjusting schedules to keep trains running later at night on the weekends, which would have pushed back when service started in the mornings.

But with service already starting as late as 8 a.m. on Sundays, studies found that such a plan would mainly impact low-income and minority passengers headed to weekend jobs. Late night service, BART officials found, would mainly be for recreation.

If passed, the program could begin on Dec. 21 and would be reevaluated after a one-year pilot program. BART would also have the option to discontinue service given 90 days notice.

Trips would cost $4.20, according to AC Transit’s current fare schedule. BART has anticipated the program will cost $838,000 and has secured $496,000 in grants and set aside $200,000 in operating funds. BART anticipates recovering $100,000 in fare revenue from the buses.