Bay Area Braces for BART Strike

Unless an agreement between two BART unions and management can be reached, the Bay Area may experience traffic gridlock on Monday if the heavy rail network shuts down, leaving riders in S.F, the East Bay, and Peninsula with considerably fewer options

The Chronicle's transportation reporter, Michael Cabanatuan, writes on what's at stake, and describes efforts to prepare for the looming transit strike, including transit alternatives available for commuters.

The key issues on the table appear to be pay, employee contributions toward pensions [they make none now] and health insurance, rule changes to reduce overtime and safety....

Earlier, Cabanatuan wrote, "While ridership on BART has reached 400,000, generating an operating surplus, the agency has said it needs to trim costs to pay for $16 billion in major system upgrades over the next 10-15 years."

BART management could ask Gov. Jerry Brown to "stop a strike - temporarily - by ordering a 60-day cooling-off period" but they believe a strike could be better endured during the summer than during a busier time of year. "In past BART labor disputes where cooling-off periods were issued, they generally only delayed the conflict for two months rather than leading to resolution", notes Cabanatuan.

Compounding the BART strike is a looming AC Transit strike - the East Bay bus agency's transbay service normally competes with BART. If AC workers don' strike, it will attempt to supplement its transbay service according to their service alert.

The remaining transbay transit options are "ferries between Oakland, Alameda, Vallejo and San Francisco", supplemented with "very limited charter bus shuttles between the West Oakland and Embarcadero stations" operated by BART. A complete list of transit options is available at 511.org.

For San Mateo county BART riders, "a free shuttle between the Colma and Daly City BART stations and Mission Street near the Daly City-San Francisco border where riders can connect to (San Francisco) Muni. Muni also plans to boost service, especially along the Mission Street corridor." According to a Caltrain/Samtrans service alert, Peninsula commuters shouldn't expect increased commuter rail and bus service

The looming strike shows the importance of multiple or redundant transit options serving the same corridor, most apparent in the Bay Area with the bus, heavy rail, and ferry serving transbay riders.
Full Story: BART strike deadline looms as talks lose momentum

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