BART and its labor unions look like they will once again fail to reach an agreement on a new contract, meaning thousands of commuters in the Bay Area will have to find another way to get to and from work on Monday.
At issue – pay, health benefits, pension and employee safety, among other things. The sides have been negotiating everyday over the last week, trying to hash out an agreement. Of course, this comes after employees walked off the job in early July, before agreeing to extend their contract another 30 days.
While the last strike was a rough one for commuters, it was also during the week of July 4th, meaning far less people were on the roads than during a normal work week. There are a variety of options for the 400,000 or so people who normally take BART each day, but patience is needed for anyone who has to deal with what could be an absolute mess. Here are a few options:
Shuttles - BART is once again offering limited free shuttle service from certain stations during peak commuter periods. Passengers can be picked up at the El Cerrito del Norte, Walnut Creek, Concord, San Leandro, Dublin/Pleasanton and Fremont stations between 5am and 8am and get a return trip from near the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco from 3-7pm. Passengers will be dropped off in West Oakland before connecting to San Francisco. The service is free, but limited to about 4,000 passengers a day.
Bus Service - AC Transit will be running regular service from the East Bay to San Francisco and the Peninsula, with extra service offered to the extent possible, depending on bus and operator availability. Muni is expected to offer expanded service during peak hours, especially focusing on the Mission Corridor, between the Caltrain Depot and downtown/Financial District and on the J Line, to and from Balboa Park.
Ferry Service - The San Francisco Bay Ferry plans to try to accommodate the extra passengers it expects by deploying all available vessels, implementing special schedules and extending service hours.
Caltrain, SamTrans, Capitol Corridor - Caltrain officials expect to run regular service and are warning passengers to be aware that service may be a bit slower than normal because of increased ridership. Samtrans will be providing a shuttle from Daly City and Colma to a temporary transit center on Mission Street. The transit center will be located at Mission and Crocker streets in the northbound direction and Mission and Goethe streets in the southbound direction. The shuttles will run from 6-9am and 3-7pm. Capitol Corridor trains are expected to run on normal service, with a few trains adding a car.
Casual Carpooling - There will be several spots in the East Bay deemed casual carpool pickup locations, where drivers can pick up those looking to get to San Francisco. In San Francisco, the main pickup spots are on Beale Street, between Howard and Folsom streets and two locations on Spear Street, between Howard and Folsom streets.
Perhaps the best way to deal with what is expected to be a much busier commute is to try to adjust your work schedule if possible, either coming in earlier or later in the day. Telecommuting, if possible, is also an option. The website, 511. org is a great source for alternatives as well. The contract for BART employees expires at midnight on Sunday night.
Photo Credit: Steve Rhodes via Flickr