BART riders could look to transit alternatives

In the last BART strike, thousands of would-be riders flocked to alternatives like carpooling and new transportation networks like Lyft and Sidecar.
October 10, 2013 8:05:54 PM PDT
In the last BART strike, thousands of would-be riders flocked to alternatives like carpooling and new transportation networks like Lyft and Sidecar. Those transit alternatives are now getting ready to take on extra riders.

When normal would-be BART riders turned to casual carpools during the last BART strike, many of them ran into the issue of not ending up where they normally would if they had been on BART. Heath Maddox thinks he has a solution for them if BART goes on strike this time around.

"We're hoping and expecting that people will discover bicycle sharing as a new option for the last mile of those trips coming into SF," he said.

Maddox runs San Francisco's new bike sharing program. He's was showing it off Thursday at the first-ever Shared-Use Mobility Summit.

"That ranges from car sharing to bike sharing to ride sharing to these new services with pink mustaches," UC Berkeley transportation researcher Susan Shaheen said.

Cal ran the summit that brought all those players together in one place, right across the street from one of the city's new bike share stations.

The bike share program has hit upon the ironic upside to a possible BART strike -- with no trains running across the bay, the new high tech services of the sharing economy can have their day in the sun if they're prepared.

"If I were those companies, I would abs be trying to capitalize on this opportunity to really provide a service for the people," BayShare co-founder Jesse Biroscak said.

The local group that advocates for sharing companies like Lyft and Sidecar says in many cases that means having enough drivers.

Sidecar says it's on top of that with a speedier application process.

"You could sign up tonight and within about 24 hours you could be approved," Sidecar CEO Sunil Paul said.

They've added a new feature aimed at commuters since the last BART strike. Drivers can say where they're headed and only take passengers heading the same way.

"For example, someone here in San Francisco could say that they want to just get requests going across the Bay Bridge," Paul said.

The makers of carpooling app Carma shuttled contest winners in a helicopter during the last strike.

"What we're doing this time is if you use our service to get form the East Bay into the city, what we'll do is we'll pay for your parking on the far side," Carma co-founder Richard Bryce said.

And even the good old casual carpool will offer $5 Peet's Coffee cards to drivers who show up in the evening.

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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