How Will I Get Around If There's a BART Strike?

Tips for commuters

With all the talk about a potential shutdown of the BART system amidst a labor dispute, how silly would it be if you weren’t prepared with some alternates when the time came?

This isn’t the first time we’ve worried about a BART strike.

A blast from the past Web post from 2005, the last time a potential strike threatened a shutdown, offer online resources and tips for traditional options like carpooling and phone numbers for other means of transit. 

Most importantly, though, the BART Web site offers the the option to "Ride a BART charter bus."

In the event of a strike, BART will provide limited charter bus service between East Bay BART stations and downtown San Francisco. We’re following up on that option and hope to have more details for you soon.

A similar shutdown caused gridlock on Bay Area freeways in 1997 and turned commute schedules on their ear. Though we expect similar problems will plague the commute again come July 1, there are a couple of key factors that might keep things from being as bad as they were over a decade ago.

Factor 1: In 1997, the Bay Area was riding the wave of the recent high-tech and dotcom boom. Since then, we’ve seen the economy and the job market shift toward the negative, creating a slightly lighter commute. Fewer commuters, fewer cars, less backup. But backups, nonetheless.

Factor 2: In 1997, the shutdown happened in September. Summer vacations were over, schools were back in session, commuters were back in full force. This time, it’s summer, with a lighter volume of traffic overall. But again, expect the ugly jams to form.

Despite anticipation of a sluggish commute, we have little word on any special service planned for any other agencies at this time.

Muni's site doesn't list any changes to their schedule but we expect to see the most impact to crosstown traffic within San Francisco. Folks who normally ride just a few stations may have to take their cars, meaning more congestion and more parking hassles within the City.

AC Transit has not planned changes but says more buses might be available if there's a strike. Commuters should probably use the service as an alternate to BART between Fremont/Newark and San Francisco, riding across the Dumbarton Bridge to and taking Caltrain up the Peninsula.

If the Peninsula is your route, though, we have found some specific info posted for Samtrans and Caltrain riders and thier alternates thru SF should the need arise.

Golden Gate Transit says “service as usual” if strike happens but outlines their commute options.

NBC Bay Area Traffic Anchor Mike Inouye  is watching the commute and will let you know what happens on the roadways via TV, Facebook and Twitter. Follow him @TrxMike and hit back if you hear anything you want to share.

Do you rely on BART to get around? Leave a comment below to share your plans on getting from Point A to Point B in the event of a strike.

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