Bus-Only Lanes On Bay Bridge Not Realistic Traffic Fix

Feb 4, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; General view of the Bay Bridge prior to Super Bowl 50.
Photo credit Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

There's renewed interest in creating lanes on the Bay Bridge that would be only for buses, but a transportation officials is skeptical it would work without more far-reaching changes to infrastructure and driving behavior. 

Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) has recently proposed limiting a lane on the span for buses, saying it would speed up commutes and encourage more people to take mass transit. 

But Andrew Fremier, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's deputy executive director, told KCBS Radio, that traffic already moves easily across the bridge. Traffic slows drastically as a variety of East Bay freeways converge near the Bay Bridge. 

"The Bay Bridge itself is not where the significant delays are," Fremier said. "The approaches are where see the problem."

Putting bus lanes on the approaches would make things worse for drivers, he predicted. 

In 1962, there was a lane for buses on the Bay Bridge, a time when the region's population was roughly 50% smaller than today. 

For the idea to succeed now, it would require far more commuters to start riding AC Transit's Transbay buses, Fremier said. 

"You have to move a lot of people out of single occupancy vehciles to be successful in this equation," Fremier said. "That's the story."

There were more than 136 million vehicles that paid the toll to cross the Bay Bridge in 2016-17, according to figures from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. 

AC Transit had 14,500 passengers on its Transbay routes per day in 2018-19. 

Reporting by Jim Taylor.