a green and white bus, AC Transit line 12, labeled "Berkeley BART via MLK Jr Way"
AC Transit’s line 12 is one of many Berkeley bus lines that are out of service until Monday. Photo: Paul Sullivan

The bulk of Berkeley’s AC Transit bus lines are out of service until Monday morning while its facilities in Emeryville undergo a precautionary cleaning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency confirmed Friday.

Lines 7, 12, 19, 29, 33, 36, 52, 65, 67, 79, 88, 96 and 851 are now suspended. Some of these lines are shared with Albany, Emeryville, Alameda and Oakland. Other bus routes, including lines 6, 18, 51B, 72, 72M and 72R, will experience delays while they shift to other bus centers during the cleaning.

“More than one” AC Transit employee recently reported COVID-19 exposure outside of work, agency spokesman Robert Lyles told Berkeleyside, which prompted the deep cleaning. Some of those workers are not bus drivers, Lyles said. He declined to share any other information, citing employee privacy.

“The coronavirus remains an ever-present health issue in the Bay Area. Although we have taken enhanced steps internally and onboard to guard against the virus, our employees may still be exposed outside of their work duties,” Lyles said. AC Transit is doing routine cleanings of some of its facilities, he said, but more cleanings are now also underway.

Insufficient notice

Some community members said they were surprised to learn of the service changes and that AC Transit should have done more to advise people.

Closure notices did not go out until Thursday at 8 a.m., when service was suspended, creating confusion for some residents who rely on the routes.

One community member told Berkeleyside she “ended up walking the three miles home with a heavy knapsack” Thursday night after waiting 30 minutes for a bus in Westbrae that never came. There was no notice posted on the actual bus stop, she said, and she doesn’t use a cellphone.

“AC Transit needs better communication,” she said. “It wasn’t till I went to the website today that I saw the list of suspended buses.”

Some line cancellations appear on Google Maps but are not accurate.

Specific information about Berkeley bus lines and delays is available on the AC Transit website and Twitter.

Supriya Yelimeli is a housing and homelessness reporter for Berkeleyside and joined the staff in May 2020 after contributing reporting since 2018 as a freelance writer. Yelimeli grew up in Fremont and...