Public transit is at a critical crossroads. While it has a major role in the shift from car-centered suburbs to walkable neighborhoods with apartments and small businesses, the last couple of years and the coming two years will see major challenges as ridership remains low due to the pandemic and remote work.

That’s why we support Alfred Twu for AC Transit at-large board member. The board needs someone with the knowledge, leadership and experience working with members of our Berkeley City Council, community organizations and transit riders to lead on the street redesigns and city planning changes needed for bus service to succeed, build support for continued funding to avoid cuts, and continue moving toward greater regional coordination among the Bay Area’s 20-plus transit agencies.

Alfred’s experience on the Berkeley Planning Commission, as well as their ongoing work with transit and transportation advocacy organizations such as Seamless Bay Area, Telegraph for People, and East Bay Transit Riders, makes them our choice for representing us on the AC Transit Board. In addition to being a regular bus rider, Alfred also rides BART and bikes and has a first-hand understanding of how different modes of transportation can work better together.

They’re also someone who has the relationships to work with the state government on getting the funding needed to keep transit running. Alfred is endorsed by our Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, and has been actively building support for transportation and housing legislation. Like other Bay Area agencies, AC Transit faces a fiscal cliff around 2024 when federal pandemic relief money runs out. State legislation or a regional measure will be needed.

Long-term, adapting to the new normal of remote work will require a shift from transportation systems focused on getting office workers in and out of downtown San Francisco to one that works better for essential workers, in-person activities, shopping, and other trips. Pre-pandemic, BART trains were full during rush hour, and AC Transit Transbay buses provided additional capacity. Today, both run significantly less than full. And at the same time, we have a deep need for all-day service between the Berkeley Hills and downtown Berkeley and to restore service on Ashby Avenue.

Finally, given all the opinions and debate on bus lines, pedestrian and bike safety improvements, AC Transit needs someone who has the trust of local elected officials and community leaders to find common ground to get things done. Alfred’s supporters include the mayor, most city council members and many Berkeley leaders. While they might not always agree on everything, they all agree that Alfred is the right choice for AC Transit Board.

Alfred is the leader that AC Transit needs. They have our support, and we hope they will have yours. Vote for Alfred Twu for the AC Transit at-large board seat in November.

Rigel Robinson is the District 7 Berkeley City Council member representing the city of Berkeley on the Alameda County Transportation Commission. Libby Lee-Egan is a co-founder/volunteer with North Berkeley Now! and serves as chair of Berkeley’s Housing Advisory Commission. Diego Aguilar-Canabal is a legislative assistant to Berkeley City Councilmember Terry Taplin. Fern K. Hahn is a youth transit advocate from Oakland studying urban planning.

The deadline to register to vote online or by mail in Alameda County is Oct. 24, and the election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. We put together a guide to the essentials of how to register and vote, what’s on the ballot, voters’ rights and more.

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