Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBART ridership was down sharply Friday

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBART ridership was down sharply Friday

BART ridership drops Friday after a close call on strike

BART ridership dropped sharply Friday as commuters bracing for a second possible strike made alternate travel arrangements, agency officials said.

Ridership on Friday was down by about 20,000 passengers compared to recent Fridays, with transbay trips down by around 11,000, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said.

Many riders who feared a strike would start Friday morning had presumably already planned to stay home or work from home, or arranged for carpools or other alternate transportation, Trost said.

Union officials announced around midnight that they would not go out on strike Friday at the expiration of a state-ordered 60-day cooling-off period, but issued a 72-hour notice warning of a possible strike Monday.

“We were hoping the unions would announce much earlier than they did that there wasn't going to be a strike so that people wouldn't have to stay up until midnight,” Trost said. “They waited until the last possible minute.”

Bay Area transit officials are warning riders to be prepared for a strike Monday, which means many will again be seeking alternate forms of transportation.

BART employees previously went on strike for four and a half days in July but returned to the bargaining table for another 30 days under order by Gov. Jerry Brown.

When the second round of talks failed, Brown asked for a 60-day cooling-off period, which a judge ordered. That period ended at the end of the night Thursday.

BART management began negotiating on April 1 with Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and clerical workers.

The drop in ridership Friday was noticeable at Orinda's BART station, according to City Councilman and state Assembly candidate Steve Glazer.

Glazer, who was at the station Friday morning gathering signatures on a petition calling for a legal ban on future transit worker strikes in California, said he spoke to newspaper salespeople there who said business was around half the level of a normal Friday.

“A number of people I spoke to said they had to get up at midnight to see if the trains were running the next day,” Glazer said. “There were some bleary-eyed folks saying they'd lost sleep over this.”

Glazer said thousands of people had signed his petition, which calls on state legislators to pass a strike ban similar to those seen in other cities such as New York City and Chicago.

“If they are unable to reach agreement they should keep working it out, but they shouldn't strike and create huge impacts on the people in the Bay Area and our economy,” Glazer said.

The strike in July cost commuters and the regional economy more than $219 million in lost productivity, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce officials said Friday in a statement.

In addition, it contributed to traffic delays from extra cars on the road and added around 16 million pounds of extra carbon dioxide to the air, chamber officials said.

The chamber called for a prompt agreement to avoid another strike.

“A repeat strike will be damaging to commuters, employers and the economy,” said Wade Rose, co-chair of the chamber's public policy committee.

The Bay Area Council, a regional business-sponsored advocacy group, recently released a survey that found 63 percent of residents in counties served by BART think employees should accept BART management's latest contract offer.

BARTBay Area NewsBay Area Rapid TransitTransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Scooter companies have expanded their distribution in neighborhoods such as the Richmond and Sunset districts. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board signs off on changes to scooter permit program

Companies will gete longer permits, but higher stakes

A health care worker receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
City sets ambitious goal to vaccinate residents by June

Limited supply slows distribution of doses as health officials seek to expand access

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden arrive at Biden's inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021, in Washington, DC.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)
Joe Biden issues call for ‘unity’ amidst extreme partisan rancor

‘I will be a president for all Americans,’ he says in inauguration speech

MARIETTA, GA - NOVEMBER 15: Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff (R) and Raphael Warnock (L) of Georgia taps elbows during a rally for supporters on November 15, 2020 in Marietta, Georgia. Both become senators Wednesday.  (Jenny Jarvie/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Vice President Harris swears in senators Padilla, Warnock, Ossoff

New Democratic senators tip balance of power in upper legislative house

The charismatic Adarsh Gourav, left, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas star in “The White Tiger,” Ramin Bahrani’s adaptation of the novel by Aravind Adiga.<ins> (Courtesy Netflix)</ins>
‘White Tiger’ takes in-depth look at India’s caste system

‘Identifying Features’ depicts human effects of Mexico’s drug wars

Most Read