Limited BART service resumes with delays

BART resumed limited service this morning after announcing that the strike was over last night.
October 22, 2013 8:58:18 AM PDT
BART trains are rolling again this morning after the strike ended last night. Limited service was expected to start at 4 a.m., but did not resume until 5:45 a.m. due to staffing issues. The transit agency is reporting delays of 20 minutes system-wide.

The announcement about the strike being over came Monday around 10 p.m. at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission headquarters in Oakland. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom arrived at the building and were there for the announcement.

On Monday there were almost 12 hours of negotiations that took place before both sides announced the deal. Neither side revealed exactly what is in the tentative deal, which ends the four-day walkout.

"The team is recommending the contract to the members, so that carries a lot of weight to the members. They respect and negotiate as the officers of this union, so I believe it will pass, but we have to explain it to the members," said John Arantes from SEIU Local 1021.

"I will simply say that this offer is more than what we wanted to pay, but it is also a new path in terms of our partnership with our workers and helps us to deliver BART service for the future," said BART general manager Grace Crunican.

"A lot of peoples' lives have been impacted by what's happened, so on behalf of all of us in this region we're grateful we're here, but mark my word, if there's any lesson learned it's that this can never happen again," said Newsom.

"We're confident that we'll have trains rolling out at 4 a.m., just as they usually do. Now, it may not be the same capacity it usually is; perhaps it's not going to be a 10-car train, if you're used to a 10-car train. Or maybe there will be a train missing in between those trains every five minutes on say the Pittsburg-Bay Point line, where they do run much closer together because it's a busier line, but we do feel confident that we will have regular train service starting at 4 a.m.," said BART spokesperson Alicia Trost.

It will be a busy night for BART workers who have to do things like putting money in ticket machines and inspecting elevators.

One union person says he believes that the accident over the weekend, which killed two workers, did have an impact on getting these talks restarted. In fact, the section of track where the accident happened will be open for the morning commute. However union officials say they still have safety concerns and safety issues that they want addressed in the future. The bottom line is BART will be back in business beginning at 4 a.m. Tuesday.

SEIU told ABC7 News they could vote on the deal this Friday and ATU could vote this weekend.

BART strike overloaded Monday's commute

The BART strike forced commuters to pack buses and ferries on the first Monday of the strike. About 1,500 more people were on BART shuttle buses in the morning compared to Friday.

There was a long line of people waiting for the 5 a.m. bus at the Walnut Creek BART station. The first person lined up at 3:40 a.m. -- five hours before he had to be at work.

"It's pretty frustrating. Yesterday I was with my family just to spend some time and had to cut it short because of this. It's definitely frustrating," said Anthony Flores of Pleasant Hill.

There were a lot of new people in line for the bus on Monday and many came early, not sure what to expect.

"I'm a little nervous about getting home, I've heard that's the worse part going -- so it's be a long day," said Lisa Perez of Walnut Creek.

Commuters who went into the city on Friday said the ride home was brutal. BART brought in 13 more buses than on Friday and several of them started showing up at 5 a.m. to respond to the rush. It looked like the commute for those who chose the bus would be a smooth one, but then at 7 a.m. all the buses for Walnut Creek were full.

"What happened was it was a lot busier here today than it was on Friday. So, we're going to try and get a higher allocation for Walnut Creek tomorrow," said a BART spokesman.

The spokesman told commuters to try Lafayette; there were still empty buses there, but commuters were worried about the gamble.

The carpool line at the Walnut Creek BART station wasn't too bad, but not many cars stopped there. And people in line realized they were going to be late to work.

"Everyone just wants to go to work, everybody does, it's just a hassle," said Asia Martin of Walnut Creek.

Commuters who didn't drive or take the bus in the morning, packed on to ferries instead. About 19,000 people were expected to ride the ferries on Monday, compared to just 6,000 on a normal day. San Francisco Bay Ferry added extra boats between the scheduled ones and extra staff and said they saw a 183 percent increase in ridership over a normal Monday morning.

"We have ticket sales staff, we have customer assistance staff, we have the crews and the captains, as well as security, so we have a full deployment," said San Francisco Bay Ferry spokesman Ernest Sanchez.

In Oakland, you have to buy tickets on land, but leaving San Francisco, you buy them on the boat. That was just one more detail for commuters to know, who were already thrown out of their routine.

Some ferry riders blamed BART workers for the strike that put them in a difficult situation and others blamed BART management. As commuters lined up in the dark on a blustery Monday morning they simply hoped for a quick resolution to the labor impasse.

Stay with ABC7NEWS.COM for updates on the BART strike and information on how to get around in the morning with limited BART service. 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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