BART Strike Continues, No Negotiations Scheduled

By Staff and Wires
|  Monday, Oct 21, 2013  |  Updated 11:57 AM PDT
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Monday morning, there will likely be some serious backups on the Bay Bridge and throughout the Bay Area. No BART talks are scheduled, but the unions are saying there is a new offer to consider. NBC Bay Area’s Kimberly Tere reports from the Lake Merritt Bart Station in Oakland.

Monday morning, there will likely be some serious backups on the Bay Bridge and throughout the Bay Area. No BART talks are scheduled, but the unions are saying there is a new offer to consider. NBC Bay Area’s Kimberly Tere reports from the Lake Merritt Bart Station in Oakland.

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Feds Begin Probe of BART Worker Deaths

Federal officials are now in charge of the investigation that led to the deaths of two BART workers. Their task is to figure out why a BART train hit and killed the workers yesterday--on day two of the strike. NBC Bay Area's Monte Francis reports from Walnut Creek.

RAW VIDEO: BART Train Kills Two Maintenance Workers

BART said the two employees who were killed by a train Saturday afternoon were performing track inspections in response to a report of a dip in the track at the time of the accident.
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With no announced end to the ongoing strike, Bay Area Rapid Transit officials are advising commuters to seek alternate transportation to get to work.

Union employees walked off the job Friday, shutting down the nation's fifth largest commuter rail system and creating a transit headache for BART's estimated 200,000 daily riders. Unions representing BART workers said they submitted a new contract proposal aimed at ending the strike and bringing both parties back to the table Sunday night, but a BART spokesperson said they have not seen the proposal yet.

BART spokesperson Alicia Trost issued a statement Sunday afternoon saying there were be a closed door session on Monday at 3 p.m. to discuss the state of the  negotiations and a fatal accident that left two employees dead Saturday.

MORE: NTSB Begins Investigation Into BART Workers' Deaths

"The BART Board of Directors will have a special board meeting... in closed session to discuss labor negotiations," the statement read.

BART officials have been in communication with union leaders and the mediator to determine the next steps toward a resolution. No talks are scheduled at this time.  Because there is still no agreement on wages and work rule changes, BART is open to restarting mediated talks if the mediator determines it is appropriate to reconvene.

It isn't just the trains feeling the impact of the strike. Cab driver Hakim Ahmed said the BART strike is bad for business.

"It's bad. It's bad for us," Ahmed said. "Traffic is so bad. It takes you two, two-and-a-half hours to get to San Francisco and come back."

He also said a lot of cab drivers make their money picking up riders from BART stations, and the added congestion on the roads keeps them from making more trips.

"We are picking up less people because people ride ferries and carpools and buses," Ahmed said.

As the strike reaches its fourth day, some commuters are getting creative.

Emily Pharr posted an ad on Craigslist offering rides from the East Bay through San Francisco to the Peninsula with stops in between.

"It says BART sucks, $10 to San Francisco in my minivan," Pharr said.

Pharr also said she is just doing her part to help out.

"I don't have to be at work tomorrow," Pharr said. "It's just me doing my part. I do work in public service, and I believe BART is a public service and it's not serving the public and so I will. I am willing to do that."

Pharr said she is picking up riders at the North Berkeley BART station asking prospective passengers for a donation of $10 to cover gas and her time. She also said she plans on driving her minivan and taking advantage of the extended hours of HOV lanes.

The Municipal Transit Agency said carpooling is a great alternative, but it warns people they need to add extra time to their commute since roads are expected to be packed.

Those who are impacted by the strike said they are hoping for a resolution between BART and its unions sooner rather than later.

"I do have to say I am irritated, extremely," rider Victor Libbey said.

Another rider, Gina Sponzolli of San Francisco, said she is also frustrated with the strike.

"It seems a little bit excessive now, and at this point, we're all inconvenienced, and it's really hard to understand what's at issue anymore," Sponzolli said.

BART will once again be offering free round-trip bus service from nine East Bay stations to San Francisco.

The buses are scheduled to run from 5 to 8 a.m. Return service from San Francisco is scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. near the Transbay Terminal on Howard Street.

BART Strike Resources

The investigation into Saturday’s tragic accident, in which two workers were hit by a train, has been taken over by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The NTSB has asked BART not to comment, answer questions, or conduct any interviews regarding the investigation. The NTSB will provide updates moving forward.

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