Muni Estimates At Least $400,000 Spent To Support BART Riders During Strike

During the recent four-day BART strike, ridership and expenses went up for other transit agencies taking on the extra demand for rides in parts of the Bay Area.

AC Transit officials deployed an extra 11 transbay buses each day of the strike that started Friday and lasted through the end of Monday.

Spokesman Clarence Johnson said AC Transit ridership was “substantially up, particularly for our transbay runs” however official numbers have not yet been tallied.

During a four-and-half-day BART stoppage in July, the transit agency spent about $165,000 in extra expenses, he said.

Johnson said this strike is estimated to be more costly.

On an average day, AC Transit provides about 14,000 rides. During July that daily average doubled, Johnson said.

On transbay routes during the strike “capacity was an issue,” Johnson said. He said the 11 extra buses made an additional 22 runs across the Bay Bridge during the workweek days of the strike.

One commuter, Ari Soglin, 53, said he was trying to catch an AC Transit bus from Berkeley into San Francisco Monday morning.

He was waiting with a group of about six others on Gilman Street near Interstate Highway 80 just before 8:30 a.m.

“The first bus came by was full and passed us right by,” he said.

He waited for another 10 minutes for the next bus before giving up and taking an offer for a ride with a casual carpooler who asked if anyone needed to cross the bay.

Soglin, an Albany resident, said he might have been “waiting forever” had he not gotten into the car that took advantage of carpool lanes to get into San Francisco.

He said traffic was slow but moving on the Bay Bridge, and that he would consider doing casual carpool again after his successful inaugural experience.

San Francisco Municipal Railway buses and trains handled an extra 11,500 riders during the Monday morning commute, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said.

Throughout the entire shutdown there were more riders on the Muni system than usual, and even more than during the July strike, Rose said.

An official count of total riders throughout the four days is still being compiled, Rose said.

During the July strike, Muni officials said each day of the BART stoppage cost the agency about $100,000 — totaling about $400,000 for the entire period.

Rose said similar or higher costs were associated with this second strike.

The agency had to deploy extra parking officers, staff to assist with traffic control and transit fare inspectors. There were 16 extra buses each day on the Mission Street corridor, and four more light-rail vehicles running on the J-Church and N-Judah lines.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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