Oakland commuters express fear and frustration over BART strike

BART train

Commuters wait to get on a train at 19th Street BART station on Thursday. The trains are set to stop running on Friday at midnight.

Thousands of commuters across the Easy Bay are readjusting their travel plans tonight in the wake of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1555’s announcement that BART workers would strike just after midnight on Friday. Now, commuters must turn to carpools and AC Transit buses to get around if they can. Others will be left without a way to get to work or school tomorrow as talks by BART workers and management reached a bitter standstill.

“It’s tiring. Having to wake up in the middle of the night to find out what’s going on,” said Karman Wright, 31, who works at a medical clinic in Oakland. “I’ll drive, but I’ll have a longer commute now.”

“They’ve had 60 days to figure it out. I just don’t understand how they haven’t by now,” Wright added.

Other BART riders voiced similar frustrations. Kelly Soto, 44, relies on BART to get to her job each day in a San Francisco law firm. “I support the BART union,” Soto said. “But when I heard they would strike again I was exasperated.”

Barbara Herczeg, a transportation engineer who specializes in freeways, said she normally takes the BART to work in Oakland. Now, she will ask her retired husband to drive her.

“The public is sick and tired of all of this. Everything is falling apart. Federally, locally. Nothing works,” Herczeg said.

Susan Rubio, a paralegal from Berkeley, said that she had planned to fly out of San Francisco Airport this weekend but later changed her flight plans. “I’m glad I did, because now I wouldn’t have been able to get there,” she said of the strike.

BART would normally provide over 400,000 rides to people in the Bay Area on an average weekday, according to the group’s most recent ridership report.

Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect the correct union name. A previous version of the story contained an error.

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