As the BART strike got under way this morning, AC Transit—which is embroiled in its own labor dispute—provided extra service between the East Bay and San Francisco to help bridge the gap for commuters, a spokesman said.

AC Transit buses carried an unusually high volume of passengers, and spokesman Clarence Johnson said it was at least double the normal number of riders at some locations.

Some AC Transit staff volunteered at key BART stations from Union City to El Cerrito to assist with crowd control and provide directions to those who needed help.

“I don’t think you can overstate their efforts,” Johnson said.

The thousands of passengers were cleared from a bottleneck in downtown Oakland by 9:30 a.m.

“Our operators did a magnificent job under some stressful conditions that will likely persist until BART returns to its normal service,” AC Transit General Manager David Armijo said in a statement. “The operators and the staff volunteers are commended for stepping up at a time when their services were so badly needed.”

AC Transit management continues to meet with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192 to work toward a new labor agreement with the agency’s bus operators and mechanics. The latest contract expired on Sunday.

The union has mentioned the possibility of an AC Transit strike but said it will give 24 hours’ notice before beginning a strike.

Zack Farmer, Bay City News

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