BART Strike Continues; Plans for Friday Buses

  • July 10, 2013

PLEASE NOTE: This article was originally published on July 4.

The BART strike continues.

The transit agency announced Wednesday that as the strike continues, it will run limited charter buses for East Bay commuters into San Francisco.

The transit agency will provide direct service to San Francisco from the West Oakland, El Cerrito del Norte, Walnut Creek, Dublin/Pleasanton and Fremont stations Thursday and Friday.

On Friday seven charter buses will be provided to the five designated East Bay stations with direct service to San Francisco from 5 a.m. until 7 a.m. or until buses are filled.
          
They will then pick up passengers between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in San Francisco.
          
Passengers who are accommodated will receive a round-trip ticket that will guarantee round-trip service if they arrive on time to the San Francisco pick up location near the Transbay Terminal.
          
From Monday through Wednesday, charter buses had transported commuters from the West Oakland-San Francisco bus bridge and dropped off passengers at the West Oakland BART station parking lot. Signs were posted directing passengers to buses destined for the other four East Bay stations.
          
BART officials said if labor negotiations reach a settlement it will take 18 hours to resume train service.       

The cost to both sides

A California State University East Bay economics professor Wednesday called the ongoing dispute between two BART unions and management and resulting strike a "fairly typical union-management dispute."
          
Jed DeVaro, chair of the economics department and a professor of management who specializes in labor economics, said the economic up-tick is helping fuel the unions' demands for higher wages and other benefits.
          
"The unions will take a more aggressive posture," he said. "(Management) can't argue that there isn't any money to give."
          
When in a financial crisis and high unemployment rates, union groups are less inclined to ask for pay increases and it is "harder for unions to muster much sympathy," DeVaro said.
          
As is, the public's opinion is highly valued by the unions and DeVaro said he thinks the unions will hold out as long as the public will allow it.
          
If there is growing outrage, DeVaro speculates, "that would tend to put a lot of pressure on the unions to concede sooner rather than later."
          
If the strike continues beyond this week, DeVaro said he thinks public sentiment will sour.
          
"Each day is extremely costly for people," he said.          

Overall, the strike is costly to all parties involved, he said.          

"Regardless how this ends, both sides lose," he said.          

The professor highlighted some of the ways the strike is damaging to BART, its workers, and the riders.          

First, he noted that during the shutdown people are finding new ways to get to work despite the extra effort to get there.          

New methods to commute might lead some riders to other feasible travel modes such as casual carpool or the ferry, and there may be some reduced demand for BART after the strike ends, DeVaro said.
          
Additionally, after likely concessions from management to end the dispute, wage increases could translate to fare increases down the line, DeVaro said.

DeVaro said ultimately the court of public opinion will influence BART management, the unions and even the mediators that are moderating the bargaining discussions that resumed Wednesday afternoon.

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