If contract negotiations continue to fail between BART and its employees, managers may operate train in the event of a strike.
BART and its unions have 28 days to reach a new deal and avoid a strike.
"We feel we are at least obligated to see whether or not it could be possible to run some type of skeletal BART service in the event we find ourselves in a long strike," said Paul Oversier, BART assistant general manager.
BART officials are going through a planning exercise to determine how many of their 200 managers have the necessary qualifications to run the 10-car trains.
"If we did attempt to run service if we calculated had enough people qualified to do so it would be a skeleton service," Oversier said. "It would be very limited in scope."
ATU Union President Antonette Bryant said tapping managers to run trains is absurd, adding that train operators go under 16 weeks of training and must get re-certified each year. It would take far too long to get managers up to speed, she said.
"They don't know how to troubleshoot...would not be able to evacuate," Bryant said. "This is seriously a problem if they are talking about doing that."