Move Over Cars: Assemblyman Suggests Bus-Only Lane On Bay Bridge

Tim Ryan
January 10, 2020 - 10:09 am
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge  Eastern Span At Night

yhelfman/Getty Images

(KCBS Radio) —The idea of installing lanes reserved for buses on the Bay Bridge is back, despite previous failed attempts to speed up the crossing for bus riders. 

This time it's Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) who has taken up a constituents's suggestion to designate a lane for only buses.

In Bonta's view, faster, more frequent and more reliable bus service across the Bay Bridge would be a win-win.

"Congestion, and traffic, and long, slow arduous commutes — this is a real challenge for people in their everyday lives," he said. "If you create a efficient, quick and easy commute for folks, we're doing a good service for them, and they should have that."

The suggestion reached Bonta after he asked constituents for ways to make life better during the new legislative season.  

"Maybe buses will become a more compelling commute option for more folks, maybe get them out of their cars, which creates more efficiencies for us as a community," he said. "When more people are taking the bus, it's better for the environment."

The bridge actually had bus only lanes in each direction decades ago. But envious drivers saw how quickly the buses traveled over the span. The drivers convinced transportation officials to make the lanes available to individual cars.

Bonta cautioned that his staff is merely at the exploratory stage at this point, and bringing back bus-only lanes might not be as open and shut as it seems. "We're finding out there are quite a few obstacles and pitfalls," he said. 

He does have at least one staunch supporter in the political realm. BART Director Rebecca Saltzman is reportedly supportive of the plan.