Operating free to the public weekdays from 7a -7p, the “B” is the latest in a series of green economic development initiatives put forth by the City of Oakland to attract business, jobs and investment. This particular project focuses on the continued revitalization of downtown Oakland, which has evolved into a regional hub for dining, arts and entertainment.
Designed and managed by the City of Oakland’s Community & Economic Development Agency (CEDA) the Broadway Shuttle is being funded through a two-year $1 million grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and an alliance of public and private sector sponsors. These include the Oakland Redevelopment Agency, the developers of Jack London Square, Downtown Oakland Association, Lake Merritt-Uptown Association, The Uptown Apartments and the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA).
The “B” uses three 30-foot buses to link commuters from public transit to their offices and provides a convenient, fun opportunity for downtown workers, residents and visitors to explore Oakland’s thriving waterfront and downtown neighborhoods. Riders can hop aboard the free “B” at any of its 19 stops color-coded to correspond with six major downtown districts: Jack London, Chinatown, Old Oakland, City Center, Uptown and Lake Merritt. Running along Broadway between Jack London Square and Grand Avenue, buses arrive every 10 minutes during commute hours and lunchtime and every 15 minutes other times. AC Transit is operating the service under a two-year contract with the City of Oakland.
“The Broadway Shuttle is the latest in a series of green economic development initiatives Oakland has advanced to attract business, jobs and investment,” said Mayor Ron Dellums. “Linking residents, workers and visitors to major downtown districts through a free shuttle epitomizes smart growth by providing an environmentally-friendly way to boost foot traffic and sales at local shops and businesses.” Mayor Dellums noted that in keeping with Oakland’s reputation as one of the ten greenest cities in the nation, the buses are low-sulfur emission, clean diesel vehicles. The mayor envisions the shuttle as a precursor to an electric streetcar for Oakland which he believes is a possibility in next three to five years.
“The shuttle represents another positive step in the continued revitalization of downtown Oakland – and our city overall,” said Rebecca Kaplan, Councilmember At-Large. “Now connected and accessible via a reliable free shuttle, downtown businesses can take advantage of the increased exposure to attract new patrons.” Kaplan added that funds are being raised in the hope of extending service later into the evening to bolster support for the 80 restaurants and cafes, 33 galleries and cultural venues (including the renovated Fox Theater and venerable Paramount Theatre of the Arts), 40 clubs and bars and 32 major events & attractions that already call downtown Oakland home. Downtown helped to fuel this week’s Forbes ranking of Oakland as the 5th coolest city in the nation.
“The Broadway Shuttle is proving to be a powerful economic development tool for the City. CEOs and small business owners want a vibrant downtown for their customers and employees – and they appreciate convenient transit that links their offices to the area’s destinations and attractions,” said Broadway Shuttle Project manager Zach Seal, a business attraction specialist for the City of Oakland. He points out that at least three new businesses, including the 60-employee residential solar design firm Sungevity, have relocated to Jack London Square in part due to the shuttle’s ability to link the Square with BART as well as restaurants and services throughout downtown.
For more information on the Broadway Shuttle or to access a schedule and route information, please visit www.MeetDowntownOak.com or call 510-891-7142 (ACTransit).