By Holly Quan

OAKLAND (KCBS) — With just over two weeks left before a state-ordered cooling-off period expires, Bay Area transit officials are already putting together a contingency plan in case BART workers go on another strike.

BART plans to triple the number of free charter buses between the East Bay and San Francisco and possibly offer limited train service through the Transbay Tube using managers who used to be train operators.

Unlike the last strike, drivers who don’t go anywhere near the Bay Bridge may be impacted. Unlike last time, carpool lanes would be enforced all day on I-880 and I-680 along BART corridors. Last July, the all-day carpool enforcement was just on I-80 and the Bay Bridge.

“Having that carpool lane available stops the gridlock from occurring. CHP spokeswoman Diana Mc Dermott told KCBS. “So you have a constant lane that will flow because of the carpool and the carpool enforcement and the additional lanes may move slower—but at least they’re moving.”

Trucks may also be allowed on I-580 to ease congestion on the Nimitz Freeway.

Labor negotiations continued on Wednesday in Oakland, but both sides said they are only marginally close to an agreement. The state-imposed 60-day cooling off period expires Oct. 10th.

The $21 million contingency plan is more aggressive than the one used during a strike in July, primarily because BART ridership peaks in the fall.

The plan still needs approval by BART’s board of directors; unions say the plan puts riders at risk.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Watch & Listen LIVE