BART strike appears to have modest impact in Berkeley

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A small group of BART strikers held picket signs outside the shuttered downtown Berkeley BART station on Monday July 1. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Maybe it’s because it’s Fourth of July week, or perhaps it’s because the temperature is forecast to hit the 80s today, but many Berkeleyans seemed to be opting to stay home rather than face a commute without BART.

Despite the news that BART employees would strike today, not a single person was waiting in line to get a ride at the casual carpool at the intersection of Claremont and College avenues at 7:45 am this morning — although there was a fair number of cars waiting for takers.

A driver waiting at the head of the carpool line said, “I think people are worried about how to get back. A lot of people take the casual carpool into the city and then BART back.” 


At 7:45am there were cars but no takers for them at the Claremont Ave. casual carpool pick up spot. Photo: Lance Knobel

A similar scene played out a couple of hours later at the casual carpool pick-up spot outside the North Berkeley BART station where a Berkeleyside reporter spotted few cars and even fewer carpool riders. One person who was getting a ride as he does every day said he had expected to see more people.

Others had anticipated encountering more cyclists on the road. But the Bike Station on Shattuck Ave. had plenty of bike parking — probably because many of its customers usually drop off their bikes before getting on BART.

A small group of strikers held picket signs outside the downtown Berkeley BART station this morning — bursting every so often into a bout of chanting. The ocasional car driver honked their horn in support as they passed. Nearby an orderly line of people waited to board AC Transit buses. It was long but not overly so. Another Berkeleyside reporter hopped onto a near-empty 51B bus at around 9:30 am today after three arrived at the stop in quick succession.

However many parking garages in downtown Berkeley were full, suggesting that those who had chosen to get to work had jumped in their cars.

And it was a different story on the roads surrounding Berkeley. The Chronicle reported bumper-to-bumper traffic and several crashes on westbound Interstate 80 which backed up traffic through Berkeley early today. Westbound Highway 24 headed to the Caldecott Tunnel was also jammed early on.

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At the North Berkeley BART station at around 9:30am cars and pedestrians waiting to get rides were few and far between. Photo: Camille Baptista

A California Highway Patrol officer said traffic on the Bay Bridge heading into San Francisco was  backed up into the MacArthur Maze as early as 6 a.m.

Workers from the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 announced at midnight Sunday that their contract had expired without a new offer from BART. They then began picketing at the Lake Merritt BART station in Oakland, near to where contract negotiations had been underway.

There is no knowing when the BART strike will end. The last time workers went on strike, in 1997, it lasted six days. Check BART online for updates and information on shuttle buses and free parking in their lots, and/or follow them on Twitter at @SFBART.

If you usually rely on using BART for your work commute, let us know in the Comments what you are seeing out there and what your plans are in the coming days.

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A line of people waited to board an AC Transit bus in downtown Berkeley at around 9:45 am. Photo: Tracey Taylor

BART on strike Monday: commuters seek alternative options (07.01.13)

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  • NoName

    I think many have decided to make this a holiday week.

  • A

    I know someone who took the Oakland->SF ferry. He drove to the ferry station and parked there.

  • chip

    Half my office is working from home today.

  • Bill N

    Went by the No. Berkeley Bart this mid-morning and there was no one there but the Google Bus and a few cars in the parking lot!

  • n

    BART SUCKS anyways with all the super-bacteria in their seats and feces below the escalators, literally.

  • Guest

    I took the ferry from SF to Oakland. It was fairly easy (a little confusing at first because I stood in the wrong line, but the staff was very helpful), and only added about 15 minutes to my commute.

  • noname2

    I commute from Walnut Creek to Pacifica every day, and was advised not to even driving getting to work this week.. Traffic is going to be a disaster!!

  • mcpuddin

    If casual carpooling isn’t an option for you, you might be able to use in order to self organize yourselves. Its used well for carpooling to company retreats or one off events and can totally be used for this strike as well!

  • PubService

    If you had bothered sending a reporter out when people were ACTUALLY heading for work-those of us without the convenience of showing up at our leisure, you would have seen the impact – ful buses packed with standing riders not even slowing down for those waiting toward the end of the route. I got lucky – someone gave up on the madhouse of casual carpool at N Berkeley and drove down University, offering to pick us up at the bus stop.
    Adding the stress of commuting and waking up two or three hours earlier than usual certainly hasn’t endeared BART’s “struggle” to any of the commuters I’ve encountered.

  • FiatSlug

    Thankfully, AC Transit was still operating. I had to endure a 20-minute wait for a bus to downtown Oakland, but once on the bus I arrived at my destination in under 30 minutes.

    If AC Transit goes out on strike, I’ll have to drive and that will change my schedule by forcing me to come in earlier so that I can find a spot near work. I hope AC Transit continues to roll even as BART is on strike.

  • Lloyd Scott

    I forgot about the holiday weekend, BART better resolve this mess soon.

  • Berkeley resident

    It is ridiculous! I have no sympathy for BART employees whatsoever. I have to commute to Coliseum in Oakland, which is not the safest area even when BART works. Today, I had to use 2 buses to get there, which is much more unsafe than taking BART. It seems like BART and AC Transit care only about people commuting to SF and disregard other commuters. I am really disappointed at both BART representatives and their unionized employees for failing to negotiate an employment contract in a timely manner! Thanks god my employer was really sympathetic and told me to work from home till BART resumes its operations.

  • guest

    This is why our newest citizens are our greatest hope for the future.

    Mis primos didn’t risk their lives coming here to trade one master for another. After unions abuse for decades, you think they want join you? They already have too much real American initiative, enterprise and ambition to grow fat sucking the life out of our society.

    Put those BART maintenance contracts out to bid with Hispanic companies and you’ll be able to eat off floors (and the seats).

  • Chris J

    My wife decided to stay with her brother who lives in SF rather than deal with the extended commute–she took Muni this morning as she will tomorrow, though she will return tomorrow evening with fellow local Berkeley workmates and attempt to carpool in with her office mates who live nearby.

    Hey, I would stay in the city through Wed and return for July 4 but she misses me.

  • Chris J

    I can’t believe the dang BART people are out throwing signs around, picketing. I hope they don’t get jumped by a ravening mob of commuters whose days have been ruined.

  • guest

    Thanks for checkin’ in Chris.

  • urgent!!

    is there a bart service from downtown berkeley to SFO international airport, and arrive there by 11? i have to catch a flight tonight :(

  • emraguso

    I don’t think there’s any service. You can check the BART website for more info:

  • redtulip

    Commuting from the Vallejo area to Emeryville…I worked from home so far, can anyone tell me what I might expect tomorrow? I need to be in by 9 am..thanks!

  • Chris J

    Thanks–I think. I’ve gotten enough folks (2) who seem to think my comments are either irrelevant or mean to not be sure if I need someone to hold up the ‘sarcasm’ sign like Sheldon of Big Bang occasionally requires…

  • Brad

    There’s service, but you have change trains. Check the web site.