By Maura Dolan, October 31, 2013
Some frustration, but officials predict worst to come in BART strike
PHOTOS: BART strike hits Bay Area
Thousands of San Francisco Bay Area commuters were left without rail service Monday as the BART strike moved into its fourth day.
The second strike by Bay
Area Rapid Transit workers in four months produced traffic jams and
frustration Friday -- the first day of the shutdown -- but officials
predicted Monday would be much worse.
Transportation officials said they believed many commuters took Friday off or telecommuted,
relieving the crush to get in and out of San Francisco and around the
East Bay. But that wasn’t expected to happen again on the first day of a
new work week.
BART, the nation's fifth-largest transit system, normally carries
400,000 passengers each workday. Despite adding more charter buses for
the Monday commute, they would be able to accommodate only a fraction of
BART riders. AC Transit, which serves the East Bay and runs direct routes in and out of San Francisco, carried full loads Friday.
Many commuters on Monday had already built in extra time into their
schedules as they lined up for limited spots on charter buses.
“I have to get up about a half-hour earlier,” Al Buena Ventura told KTVU-TV.
Long lines had already formed before 6 a.m. for the other transit
alternative: ferries. Having added four additional ferries, the San
Francisco Bay Ferry system is able to carry nearly 20,000 passengers on
workdays during the strike, compared with the usual load of 6,000.
"If the strike goes into Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I think at
that point we will see the real demand for normal fall commute,” said
Ernest Sanchez, a spokesman for San Francisco Bay Ferry.
BART workers decided to strike Thursday after management refused to
submit a dispute about work rules to binding arbitration, union leaders
said. Both sides had reached an agreement on employee contributions to
pensions and health plans and were close to agreeing on wages.
Though there were no immediate plans for the two sides to return to
the negotiating table, the BART board of directors planned an emergency
meeting Monday to discuss the latest developments.
Officials had also expanded hours for carpool lanes. The headache for commuters, though, was expected to last all day.
Susan McDonald told KTVU on Monday as she lined up for the ferry that
getting to work wasn’t the hard part because there were fewer people to
deal with in the early morning hours.
“I think coming home is more difficult,” she said.