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350 East Bay & 350 Transportation Campaign tour of AC Transit Fuel Cell facility
Saturday, October 19 @ 10:00 am - 12:30 pm
Hello 350 Bay Area Transportation/350 East Bay Folks:
We have an exciting opportunity to visit AC Transit’s world renowned Zero Emission Bus program in Oakland. AC Transit Board member Chris Peeples will give us an orientation and lead us on a tour.
Saturday, October 19, 2019–1100 Seminary Avenue in Oakland (at San Leandro Street)–10:00 AM -12:30 PM
AC Transit has been working on zero emission buses for almost 20 years. They began with one little hydrogen fuel cell bus, advanced to a three bus “demonstration.” From there they went to a 12 bus “advanced demonstration.” That “advanced demonstration” has proved that hydrogen fuel cell buses have the reliability and durability of diesel buses, now the question is getting the production up to a point where the cost of the buses and the cost of the hydrogen comes down to something close to diesel.
In the meantime, advances in battery technology have led to a level of energy density that is functional for light duty vehicles (cars) and that some people believe is functional for buses and other heavy-duty vehicles. AC Transit is running a test where they are taking exactly the same vehicle (a 40 foot New Flyer Excelsior (that is a make and model of bus)) in both fuel cell electric and battery electric. They are going to run them on the same “blocks” (a route and schedule) and see how they compare. They also have very similar buses (Gillig low floors) operating on diesel electric (often called diesel hybrids) and straight diesel), so they can run those comparisons as well.
Chris Peeples, a climate activist and AC Transit director, will give us a presentation on AC Transit’s history with zero emission buses and the comparison tests that it is beginning to run.
AC Transit does ask that you RSVP below by noon on Friday October 18th so that we can give a list to the guard and that all you have to do is initial your name rather than entering various data. That form will also have AC Transit’s standard release language, although we hope you do not get run over by a bus.
Chris will meet us in the lobby and lead us across the bus yard to the maintenance building where we will go up to the conference room on the second floor. After a brief discussion of recent and upcoming 350 East Bay actions, Chris will give us a presentation on AC Transit’s Zero Emission Bus program and then take us in the yard for a tour of the hydrogen and battery electric production and fueling operations.
Note to 350 East Bay: This will take the place of our regular 350 East Bay meeting (the Sierra Club meeting room was booked anyway for October 19). We will have time for discussion of the recent climate strike actions and announcements of upcoming events.
Note to 350 Transportation Campaign team: We’ve talked about having this tour for some time—thanks Chris for making it happen! We will still have our regular zoom conference call the next day, Sunday, October 20 at 10:30 AM (although we may make that a shorter call).
How To Get To Division 4
Take AC Transit or BART to Coliseum BART station. From BART, take the AC Transit 45 line toward Eastmont Transit Center (maps and schedules at actransit.org). The 45 bus is scheduled to leave BART at 9:29 and at 10:09 AM. It’s a 3 minute bus ride to the second stop, which will be announced as “Division 4 gate.” Exit the bus. Enter the right hand (West) driveway. Toward the end of the building there will be a pair of doors leading into the lobby. In the lobby is the security guard where you will sign in. (We’ll wait for that second bus to arrive around 10:12 AM before we leave the lobby.)
Alternatively, you can walk from Coliseum BART North along San Leandro St. (basically under the BART tracks) Google map says 0.8 miles/15 minutes. Turn right on Seminary Ave (across the railroad tracks) and follow the instructions above.
By car: If you drive, Division 4 is at 1100 Seminary Ave. at San Leandro St. In the center of the frontage on Seminary Avenue is a four-level parking garage. Enter the garage and park in any space that is not designated for someone else. Go down to the ground floor and exit the garage at the opposite side that you entered (exit the South side). That should lead you into the lobby with the security desk.
Chris says, “It will be great to see you and show you around our Zero Emission Bus program.”