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BART Strike Update: No Talks Scheduled, Commuters Prepare For Day Two

Transportation officials urge commuters to use carpools to avoid a repeat of Monday's traffic nightmare

A BART worker's picket sign at the Walnut Creek BART station
A BART worker's picket sign at the Walnut Creek BART station
Are you ready to do that all over again?

There are no new talks scheduled in the BART contract negotiations, so East Bay commuters are gearing up for Day Two of the transit district strike.

Most are probably hoping it will be better than Day One.

By all accounts, driving to San Francisco from the East Bay on Monday morning was a nightmare.

At one point, KCBS Radio was reporting traffic had backed up on Highway 24 to Walnut Creek. The station also reported gridlock on Highway 80 from the MacArthur Maze to the Carquinez Bridge as well as from the Maze to Hesperian Boulevard in San Lorenzo.

Two-hour drives to get into San Francisco were reportedly a common occurrence.

Some commuters did take advantage of other modes of transportation, which are detailed in a BART strike survival guide put together by Patch.

The San Francisco Bay Ferry service experienced three times the normal number of passengers from Oakland and Alameda. At one point, there was a 40-minute wait to board a ferry.

BART also chartered buses to pick up commuters at four stations -- Walnut Creek, East Dublin/Pleasanton, Fremont and El Cerrito del Norte.

BART spokesman Rick Rice said the buses will be available again on Tuesday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the East Bay and then 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in San Francisco for the evening commute.

AC Transit put extra buses on the road and doubled the number of passengers on some routes. The agency and its drivers are still in labor talks. Their contract also expired at midnight Sunday, but so far AC Transit workers have not walked off the job.

One alternative mode that wasn't taken advantage of was carpooling. 

Randy Reutschler of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission said there were drivers at a number of East Bay carpool locations who were willing to transport an extra passenger or two, but they couldn't find anybody willing to carpool.

Reutschler noted that on average 92 percent of cars that travel across the Bay Bridge have solo drivers.

"One of the lost assets we have are the empty seats on cars going across the Bay Bridge," he said. "This is a real quantity and it's a real thing that people can do to ease traffic."

Rice said BART is hoping negotiations will start up again soon with the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555.

"We're certainly ready, willing and able," he said.

Union representatives say they will be releasing a statement Monday evening about the strike.

Talks broke off at 8:30 p.m. Sunday with the two sides far apart on salary, benefits and safety issues.
Leiris Attenborough July 02, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Tell the unions what you think about their strike: https://www.facebook.com/ATULocal1555 / @atulocal1555 https://www.facebook.com/SEIU1021 / @seiu1021
Lou Judson July 02, 2013 at 11:35 AM
.. and then LISTEN to them if they tell you their truths. See this: <http://www.alternet.org/print/labor/7-things-you-need-know-about-bart-strike-california> They have been having talks for three years with no reasonable progress, is why they are striking. But really I just heard an amusing announcement on the radio: BART is offering FREE PARKING today in all their lots! Funny - come park and walk to work... or carpool, of course.
Borris Batanov July 02, 2013 at 02:46 PM
1) SEIU is a major power broker, esp. in Calif., and close ally/supporter of the Obama Administration & Democrats. You, the overwhelming Democratic majority of Bay Area voters, voted for this. Keep this in mind the next time you vote. 2) Mass transit labor strikes are banned in many major US cities, like, New York, Chicago & D.C. Why not here? Answer: powerful unions. Keep this in mind the next time you vote for a Democrat.
Lou Judson July 02, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Borrris, I am not a partisan as you are, but unions did a lot to help get Americans decent wages and working conditions, historically. Today they seem to be a hindrance, while McDonald's workers get paid in scrip like coal miners 100 years ago. Which you prefer is apparent. PS - I live in Marin, so BART is something I have never been on even once. My parents voted it down... (I also use only my real name online - what are you hiding from?)
Borris Batanov July 02, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Irony: Bay Area residents are forced to use the roads to get to work because of the BART strike. But California roads, the responsibility of decades of Democratic rule, rank 47th in the US: http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_23578728/california-highways-among-worst-nation. Keep this, too, in mind the next time you vote for a Democrat.
Borris Batanov July 02, 2013 at 03:00 PM
Mr. Judson: The only people who use their real names on the net are either promoting themselves or stupid. Which are you? I notice you haven't challenged any of the several facts I posted, but just smeared me. Typical liberal tactic.
Lou Judson July 02, 2013 at 03:05 PM
No smear, just an observation. Pot calling kettle black perhaps? Im MY world, honest people use their real names. Your assertions are below merit for commenting. That is not a smear! Just a fact. I will not engage with you any more as using this sort of public medium to promote your political vews, and "smearing", is not useful, only self aggrandising for the accusers.
Borris Batanov July 02, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Troll distractions aside, the point I'm making is that you, the majority Democratic voter, are directly responsible for the power of the public employee union, the SEIU, which includes not only this BART strike (a relatively minor inconvenience), but the fact that the state is $127 billion in the hole, mostly due to public employee pensions (a major catastrophe): 1) http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/03/state-auditor-california-net-worth-at-negative-127-billion.html 2) http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/apr/1/california-red-1272-billion-state-auditors-say/ **** The unions which were initially created to fight the robber barons, like Carnegie and the Rockefellers, no longer represent the common American or the general good of America, but are an avaricious, supremely well-organized self-interest group at odds with the welfare of most Americans.

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