Elbow to Elbow on the Way to Work

Bay Bridge shutdown pushes commuters to public transit

By Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, Oct 29, 2009  |  Updated 11:20 AM PDT
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In Pictures: Bay Bridge Cable Collapse

Coba, Flickr

If you rode a BART train because of the Bay Bridge shutdown, you ride might have looked something like this.

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With the Bay Bridge closed for a second day because of emergency repairs, thousands of Bay Area commuters are left to find another way to work.

Transit leaders encourage commuters who can't work from home to use public transportation, like ferries and trains. It may not always be pleasant but it's a popular alternative.

Ridership on BART for the transbay commute was up 49 percent Wednesday. Transit managers say the system may have set a one-day ridership record. They will continue to add cars to trains and even add more trains to the schedule between Oakland and San Francisco until the bridge reopens.

The trains are crowded, to be sure, and the ride is not always pleasing to the senses.

"A lot of people," one commuter verified, "lots of smells -- cologne and some people don't shower."

Commuters are sounding off on blogs, Twitter and social media. One rider posted a comment on BART Musings:

The only time I've seen BART like that was on the last train out of the City on New Year's. On most somewhat crowded BART trains, pax crowd the doors, but not the aisles, making it almost impossible to get a full BART car.

Trains started rolling out of stations at 4 a.m. again Thursday.

AC Transit will detour to four East Bay BART stations so passengers can continue to San Francisco on BART.

Golden Gate Transit has extra ferries in service. And, while  it's an eye-pleasing alternative, taking the ferry is not a cheap choice. A round-trip can add up to the tune of about $10.

Muni will continue to run normal scheduled service to and from Treasure Island and Vallejo Baylink bus number 200 will be re-routed over Highway 37 and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The people at BART say there are a couple of things commuters can do to help ease the stress: arrive early enough to find a parking spot or have someone drop you off at the station, avoid the 7-8 a.m. time frame, as it is the busiest of the commute hours.

There is no estimated time of reopening for the Bay Bridge so perhaps the best tip is: patience. And, of course, deodorant.

How are you getting around during the Bay Bridge shutdown? Leave a comment below and Sound off on So Bay with your stories and pictures.

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