Disabled commuters fearful of looming BART strike

August 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Many BART riders are beginning to think about alternatives, but there are some who don't have many options. A strike would be a huge inconvenience for the disabled or those from underserved communities.

If there is a strike, traffic would be worse compared to the first strike. That's if you can use a car and if you can use other means of transportation. Some with long commutes rely entirely on BART.

According to a 2008 BART station profile study, five percent of weekday BART riders have some kind of disability.

"I use these elevators almost every night," said a wheelchair-bound commuter.

Now imagine someone like Lisa Maria Martinez not having this option to get to and from work.

"BART is really my only means of transportation," she said.

Martinez leaves Union City early in the morning. She has a 45 minute BART ride into San Francisco, where she works for Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

If BART trains were to stop running, it would take her about three hours to get to work.

"I have to take one bus to a second bus that takes me across the bay," Martinez said. "And then I have to walk to the Muni station and grab Muni and walk a greater distance than I normally do."

A BART strike would also affect families who have a long commute and don't own a car.

"Maybe go with my family in a whole car," BART rider Julieta Rivera said. "I don't know, I'm not sure."

"Honestly I don't really know how I would be able to get here to school every day," commuter Ronald Sigrist said.

A strike would come at a bad time as many prepare for school to begin. Sigrist rides BART from Oakland to City College of San Francisco. That's because the college offers veterans like him an outreach program and has a resource center.

"Without the Veterans Resource Center here I would be adrift at sea," he said. "I would not have a way to access my veterans benefit."

Sigrist say his education and the center are two things he cannot do without.

Stay with ABC7NEWS.COM for updates on the looming BART strike and information on how to get around if the trains stop running. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ and download our news app for the latest news whenever and wherever you want.


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