OAKLAND (KCBS) – By sheer coincidence, the Bay Area’s transportation managers were planning to conduct an emergency drill Thursday morning when a fire disrupted BART service on the Transbay Tube.

At the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the nerve center was already humming for an emergency training exercise early Thursday morning. The scenario: imagining if the Bay Bridge was knocked out of service.

But the drill was scrapped when they received word of an early morning fire at a construction site near the West Oakland station.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Randy Rentschler with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission said it was all hands on deck and he thinks the various agencies did the best they could to respond.

“It goes to show that we do rely on these systems to work everyday and most of the time, we don’t think about it,” he said. “But we don’t have a fleet of a thousand buses hanging out in some parking lot somewhere when something goes wrong.”

Rentschler reassured grumbling commuters that they do have contingency plans in place and they were fully put into action on Thursday.

But officials said BART’s capacity simply can’t be replaced. In the event of a major earthquake or other prolonged emergency, the Bay Area would have to adjust, because it doesn’t have the infrastructure to fully compensate when a major link is knocked out of service.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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