May 312014

Kaiser-San-Leandro_thumbThe new Kaiser Hospital in San Leandro will be opening this upcoming Tuesday, but patients that don’t drive may continue going elsewhere.  That’s because the new Kaiser Hospital is pretty much inaccessible using public transportation.

Only one bus line stops anywhere near the new Kaiser, and the stop is two blocks away.  The stop is unshaded and there isn’t even a bench on which passengers can seat and wait.  This is problematic for people who have mobility issues, but are not on wheelchairs.  This bus, moreover, only stops once an hour, only runs on weekdays and stops running shortly after 8 PM.  You can catch it at the San Leandro BART station, the 4-mile ride takes 45 minutes.

While Mayor Stephen Cassidy had announced that there would be a shuttle to the Kaiser Hospital, it turns out that it is just meant for commuting employees. While members of the public can hop on, it only runs in one direction (to Kaiser in the morning, to BART in the afternoon), and only during commuter hours.

Update: Kaiser is now running a pilot shuttle program during mid-day. The shuttle runs every 40 minutes between 10:20 AM and 3 PM.  You can catch the shuttle back to BART, though the schedule only mid-day times are listed on the new schedule.  Note this program is a pilot and may end at any minute.

The employee shuttle is not (yet?) listed on Kaiser San Leandro’s Transportation page, so patients don’t actually have a way of knowing about it.

The better alternative for Kaiser patients who live in San Leandro and don’t drive continues to be using the Fremont Kaiser facilities, the train ride to Fremont takes only 23-minutes and the Hospital is only a couple of blocks away from the station.  BART is not only more comfortable than AC Transit, but it usually runs on time and BART stations have benches and roofs.  Alternatively, you can take BART to Oakland and then the free shuttle to Kaiser.

It is very unfortunate that the San Leandro Kaiser has not made itself accessible to public transportation and has not established a free shuttle for patients from the BART station and other stops. I urge City leader to work with Kaiser to make it accessible to all its members in San Leandro, not just those that have cars.