OAKLAND (KCBS) — With less than three days until the cooling-off period expires, BART management and union leaders continued negotiations Tuesday. Meanwhile, transit agencies are firming up contingency plans if a second strike is called.
Union leaders and management remain in a heated contract dispute, with issues over wages and benefits still to be resolved.
On Monday, union leaders did not give a 72-hour strike notice. Since the notice is customary but not required, BART workers could still strike Friday when a 60-day cooling-off period ends.
A BART spokesman said officials are working hard trying to reach a settlement, while union representatives maintain they want to leave all options on the table.
Meanwhile, BART has secured 150 charter buses, more than double the number during the four-and-a-half-day strike in July.
In the event of a strike, all of BART’s parking lots will be available and free to casual carpoolers. These were heavily utilized during the summer strike.
AC Transit would supplement its Transbay service during a strike, taking advantage of extended carpool and bus lanes on the West Grand Avenue onramp to the Bay Bridge. Truck restrictions would also be lifted on 580.
Randy Rentschler with Metropolitan Transportation Commission said waterways would also be busy.
“Those who are taking the ferry boats are going to have a lot more options. The ferries carried about three times more people than they have on a normal day. Casual carpooling was the thing that most people did in order to get across the Bay,” he said.
Rentschler said the number of buses during the last strike was around slowly ramped up to around 80, but that this time it could reach 200.
It is not clear if BART will implement a plan to use managers, who used to operate trains, for limited service. A decision on that, if needed, will go before the BART board on Thursday.
Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council, called the potential strike situation “unacceptable.”
“We’ve asked labor unions to moderate their expectations somewhat. BART really does need to invest over the next few years a massive amount of money to replace its fleet of cars,” he said.
Wunderman stressed that the roads simply don’t have the capacity for an additional “400,000 plus” trips.
East Bay Leadership Council President Tom Terrill said it’s time for creative solutions, suggesting that city buildings with Wi-Fi to be open to the public during a strike.
Telecommuting, carpools and flex hours are recommended in the event of another BART strike.
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