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BART strike: Bursts of anger as well as shrugs from Bay Area commuters

October 18, 2013|By Maura Dolan

With another BART strike in full effect Friday, Bay Area commuters crammed onto extra ferries and buses to get around the lack of rail service.

For some, the strike was a minor inconvenience, for others, the frustration of a protracted labor dispute between transit workers and Bay Area Rapid Transit management had taken its toll.

One Oakland man was arrested after he tossed a traffic cone at strikers picketing BART’s Lake Merritt Station, KTVU-TV reported.

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Thousands of commuters were forced to take extra buses or expanded ferry service Friday after labor negotiations between Bay Area Rapid Transit management and the leaders of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 crumbled late Thursday.

It sent some early morning commuters fuming on social media as many dealt with longer than usual delays, with expanded use of carpool lanes.

Lee Smith characterized his carpool commuter from Fairfield as "horrible."

"Traffic is absolutely horrible, horrible," Smith told KTVU. "It took me an hour and 15 minutes to get here."

But for others, the strike falling on a Friday appeared to keep the inconvenience at a minimum.

J. Hyjer, 59, waited in vain at a "casual carpool" spot in the East Bay suburb of Orinda for anyone who needed a ride to work.

"People are frightened to get on the road," he said.

Hyjer also surmised that the "hourlies" -- hourly workers who typically arrive at work by or before 8 a.m. -- had hit the road hours ago, making the later morning commute more manageable.

"I think it’s a Friday, I think a lot of people decided to telecommute this morning," he said, noting television news footage showed "wide open" commuter lanes on the Bay Bridge.

Scott Tracy, a 43-year-old community service worker, said his commute from Livermore was not as bad as expected.

“It's weird, it's the first day, a lot of people must have taken Friday off,” he said.

For those who couldn't work from home Friday, transit officials had asked residents to commute at off-peak hours. Roughly 400,000 riders use the BART rail system each workday.

Those who were forced to deal with the strike took to social media sites like Twitter to grumble.


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Twitter: @mauradolan

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