SAN FRANCISO (KCBS) — Commuters scrambled for alternatives to get to work Friday morning as Bay Area Rapid Transit workers went on strike following an impasse in labor negotiations.
San Francisco Bay Ferry service began earlier than normal and and terminals saw long lines before dawn. Shuttle bus and carpool pickup locations also were busy early.
Hundreds of commuters lined of up for the extra departures at Jack London Square in Oakland there were three boats rather than the usual one to make round trips.
One driver was so confused trying to drop off a friend at the termianal that he made too wide of a turn at the railroad crossing at Embarcadero and Clay Streets and became stuck on the track delaying a Union Pacific train.
Four times as many people lined up for the South San Francisco to Oyster Point Ferry. There was a make-shift booth to pay for tickets or $15 pre-paid Clipper cards.
Ferry spokesman Ernest Sanchez said the ferries were seeing an increase of passengers but
“it’s not as great as it was during the height of the July strike,” when BART’s unions previously held a work stoppage earlier this year.
“It’s heavier than normal but nothing extraordinary,” he said.
Sanchez anticipated more crowds for the afternoon commute when people who took casual carpools into San Francisco Friday morning may take ferries back.
“We have good carrying capacity,” he said. “We’ll be fine.”
Meanwhile, people were lined up well before 5:00 a.m. Friday at the Walnut Creek BART station for one of the charter buses BART was running into San Francisco.
By 7 a.m. Friday, BART announced that all of the round-trip tickets for seats on its limited free charter bus service into San Francisco from nine of its East Bay stations were sold out.
According to the CHP, commuters who planned to drive across the transbay bridges Friday were encouraged to pick up casual carpoolers and use HOV lanes and many did just that, some for the first time.
Many Bay Area drivers woke up earlier than usual to travel by car Friday morning, with traffic filling up the westbound highways toward San Francisco.
Westbound state Highway 24 was backed up all the way to the Caldecott Tunnel, while westbound Interstate Highway 80 was backed up to about San Pablo Dam Road, California Highway Patrol Officer James Evans said.
Northbound Interstate Highway 880 was backed up to state Highway 238, while the San Mateo-Hayward and Dumbarton bridges also had heavier traffic than usual, Evans said.
About 400,000 riders take BART every weekday on the nation’s fifth-largest commuter rail system. The system carries passengers from the farthest reaches of the densely populated eastern suburbs to San Francisco International Airport across the bay.
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