East Bay commuters into San Francisco were prepared this morning for the start of the BART union strike but expressed frustration about the inconvenience caused by the work stoppage.
BART provided buses from nine East Bay stations with round-trip service to San Francisco and the buses were filled to capacity by 8 a.m., agency spokeswoman Luna Salaver said.
Tickets were sold out at the Walnut Creek and West Oakland stations by 7 a.m., while buses at the El Cerrito del Norte, Concord, Lafayette, Dublin/Pleasanton, San Leandro, Hayward and Fremont stations were filled to capacity between 7:45 a.m. and 8 a.m., Salaver said.
“People were calm and knew there was limited seats so they arrived early rather than coming at 8 a.m. and expecting to jump on a bus,” she said.
Newark resident Linda Woods took a bus from the Fremont station around 6 a.m. today.
Woods usually travels from the Union City BART station to San Francisco, where she works as a supervisor for safety and enforcement at the California Public Utilities Commission.
She said she “wasn’t happy” when she first heard about the strike Thursday afternoon, when BART’s employee unions announced the planned work stoppage after failing to reach an agreement with the agency’s management following months of negotiations.
“I have to get up much earlier in the morning” but with the moon still up it seemed “more like the middle of the night,” she said.
While Woods said she was mentally prepared for today’s commute, she still wants BART to reach an agreement.
Newark resident Yanice Leu was taking the bus for the first time from the Fremont BART station to her job as an administrative assistant at First Republic Bank in the Financial District.
Leu said she hasn’t had a lot of sleep in the past week because she has stayed up to check if BART would go on strike.
The bus that left around 6 a.m. from Fremont arrived to San Francisco shortly after 7:30 a.m. on Howard Street.
The commute wasn’t as long as Leu had anticipated but she said she wasn’t looking forward to the afternoon commute.
Frank Vinculado of Oakland was waiting this morning at San Francisco Municipal Railway’s Embarcadero Muni Metro station to catch the N-Judah line to University of California at San Francisco, where he works as a radiology manager.
Vinculado said he usually takes BART from the MacArthur station and gets to work in less than an hour.
He caught an Alameda-Contra Costa Transit bus from Oakland and, with a minor delay on Muni, expected to be 15 minutes late to work.
“I hope this strike isn’t long but it doesn’t look like there’s an end in sight,” he said.
Hercules resident Abbey Ampon took a casual carpool to work in the city, where she works as an occupational health data analyst at the Federal Building.
After getting dropped off in San Francisco, Ampon then took Muni Metro to the Civic Center station.
“Right now I should be in the office having my coffee,” she said.
Traffic into San Francisco wasn’t as bad since it was a Friday and many people took the day off, Ampon said. However, she said she expects Monday to be different.
The BART buses will depart from Howard Street between Fremont and Beale streets today from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will only take passengers with the round-trip tickets, Salaver said.
Commuters will be dropped off at the West Oakland BART station, where they will be directed to other buses to other destinations, Salaver said.
BART will also provide three buses at each of the nine East Bay stations this weekend.
Buses will be available on Saturday from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. or until buses are filled to capacity, Salaver said.
Weekend buses will then depart from San Francisco from 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Jamey Padojino, Bay City News