BART Managers Practice Operating Trains in Event of Strike

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The transit agency will turn to managers as a back up plan to operate trains in the event of a strike. Stephanie Chuang reporrts.

    John O'Connor has been running BART trains for 18 years. But if he and fellow union workers go on strike, BART's plan is to consider replacing him -- at least temporarily -- with a manager.

    BART spokesman Jim Allison confirmed that some manager have been undergoing a refresher course at the Alstom Building on Mare Island this week.

    In addition, 12 managers who already have train operator certification -- a process that takes 15 weeks -- means BART could technically run trains with passengers in them as soon as there's a strike.

    "Many of these people are managers, some are not managers," Allison said. "The common bond is they're in transportation -- many of them were train operators and worked their way up through ranks."

    O'Connor said the training BART managers are receiving this week is not up to par to what regular train operators must complete.

    "This training is not up to standards, those engineers make mods on those trains all the time," he said. "They change things in way they function and then they are so inconsistent that not every car has the same changes."

    Allison said the training managers are receiving does not violate union contract terms, and that training is not done while cars are on third-rail power. The training also includes courses on safety, backup equipment, heating/ventilation system and door operations.

    "Plan A,B, C is to get a negotiated settlement," Allison said. "But we feel it's only responsible to look ahead and consider the possibility to have a prolonged strike."