51Oh, AC Transit line 51, the bus everyone loves to hate. The inspiration for Facebook groups and random fits of rage through the East Bay.

The bus that, even when it was supposed to come every 10 minutes, you always seemed to spend at least 20 minutes waiting for.

But the simultaneously most popular and most reviled bus in the AC Transit system may soon be gone from us. Just one in a massive list of possible “service changes” announced by AC Transit is a proposal to eliminate the 51 and split its route into two separate lines–the 3 and the 4.

Line 3 is planned to run from Rockridge BART to Broadway & Blanding Avenue, while line 4 will start at Rockridge BART and continue to Berkeley Amtrak. The frequency of arrivals will be decreased slightly, but we’re guessing if the new buses run anywhere near on time it’ll still be a vast improvement over the current reality of the 51.

But we have so many memories of the 51, of ridiculously crowded morning commutes, of bus drivers who seemed to have no qualms driving right past you if they were having a bad day and of course, the fact that the buses always seemed to travel in packs of two or three.

Reminisce about the 51 with us in the comments.

Image Source: Salgu Wissmath, Daily Cal
Waiting for the 51 is Like Waiting for Godot [Facebook]
Service Changes [AC Transit]

grump said:
Sep 7, 2009 at 11:51 am

Ugh, this is horrible news. I actually live furter south than the Bart and the fact the 51 runs near that was a big part of the reason I chose to live there. If you check nextbus.org before waiting for a bus (and start checking about 20 min before you want to leave to ensure you catch one in time) there really is almost no need to complain.

Besides, this still won’t stop people from riding from Telegraph to the Units.

WorkItBerk said:
Sep 7, 2009 at 12:00 pm

I hate it when you’re waiting for the 51 for 10-15 minutes longer than necessary and then not one but TWO of them arrive. Great! I really needed to be on two buses at the same time..

grump said:
Sep 7, 2009 at 1:29 pm


check nextbus.org before waiting for a bus. you can even check it via text message. there really is no reason to wait so long for the bus.

Valerie Woolard said:
Sep 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Nextbus isn’t always accurate, as the older buses often aren’t equipped with the tracking systems. Also, the 51 has the singular talent of being able to remain exactly 15 minutes away for over 5 minutes…