AC Transit reopens bus facility in Richmond

The Alameda-Contra Costa County Transit District on Friday reopened its Division 3 bus facility in Richmond on MacDonald Avenue.

AC Transit board members closed the bus facility in 2011 because of hard economic times, but cost-effective controls have led the transit district to rehab the facility for $18 million.

The rehabilitation of facility was mostly funded by the transit district’s operating funds with help from the state and the Federal Transit Administration, said Robert Lyles, media relations manager for AC Transit.

AC Transit Board President Elsa Ortiz said it was difficult decision for the board to close the Division 3 bus facility in 2011:

“But much like the mythological Phoenix arose renewed, so has Division 3. Now we have a bus division that returns jobs to Richmond.”

Transit officials said the reopening of the bus facility will play a crucial role in expanding service.

Last July, the transit district officials launched AC Transit Go — a yearlong plan to increase bus service by nearly 14 percent.

When fully launched, the rehabilitated bus facility will add 105 bus operators, 71 operating routes and 18 mechanics, according to AC Transit.

The facility will have 15 maintenance bays, inspection pits and number of eco-friendly water systems including a low-flow bus wash system that is able tor recycle and reuse the water used to wash the buses.

AC Transit’s General Manager Michael Hursh said in a statement:

“Reopening Division 3 helps alleviate capacity concerns at other bus divisions and is a positive advancement toward meeting our goal to respond to increasing ridership district wide.”

The transit district said staffing and service additions will occur in two different phases starting on Feb. 6 and the second phase starting sometime in late March.