BART workers went on strike this morning, forcing thousands of East Bay commuters to find another way to get around.
Pleasanton officials are working in tandem with BART and other agencies to handle commuter traffic and alternative transit options at the three BART stations serving Tri-Valley riders, including commuters from Danville and San Ramon riders.
Buses forming BART's alternative commute service referred to as the "bus bridge" are at the East Dublin/Pleasanton station. Six buses have been assigned to the station to take commuters to San Francisco. The buses are parking on westbound Owens Drive.
Also, commuters and car-poolers can park free in both Dublin/Pleasanton station parking lots, but elevator access is not guaranteed at the East Dublin/Pleasanton parking structure.
Both BART parking facilities and Pleasanton's Park & Ride lot are expected to fill up fast this morning.
The Pleasanton Police Department has been on the scene since early this morning to manage traffic flow and any impacts resulting from the temporary bus stops.
Metropolitan Transportation Commission officials are urging workers to telecommute if possible or to seek alternative forms of transportation such as carpooling.
BART managers also are urging commuters who can miss a few days of work to just stay home, especially today.
As the early morning commute hours began, that may be what is happening. Although freeway traffic is heavier than usual, it's still moving. The buses are not filled when they leave the BART stations.
San Francisco Bay Ferry is expected to offer extra boats today from Oakland, Vallejo and Alameda.
Plus, with the Independence Day holiday Thursday, many companies are giving employees Friday off as well. Also what may help this week is the fact that when there's a two-day holiday break, employees also take the other three as vacation days.
If that occurs, the full impact of a BART strike might not come until next Monday, July 8, if the strike is continuing then.
The strike - the agency's first since a 1997 action that lasted six days - began with an announcement at midnight from representatives from BART's two largest unions, Service Employees International Union 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 155.
A midnight announcement confirming the strike came as the unions' four-year contracts expired following days of failed negotiations with BART
"A strike is always the last resort and we have done everything in our power to avoid it," SEIU Local 1021 spokeswoman Josie Mooney said.
"Unfortunately, BART seems intent on forcing a strike," she added.
BART officials, however, have said they offered a pay raise amounting to more than 8 percent over four years in their latest contract proposal but have met with repeated resistance from union negotiators.
"We've sweetened the deal by $6 million, we doubled our wage proposal, and they came down half a percent - that's where we are right now," BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said Sunday.
Mooney and other union officials apologized early this morning to the roughly 400,000 riders who rely on BART daily and said they hoped to resolve the labor dispute as quickly as possible.
More than a dozen workers began picketing at the Lake Merritt BART station a short time later, and remained at the station as of 1:30 a.m., according to SEIU Local 1021 spokeswoman Cecille Isidro.
More were expected to join the picket line at that station and others system-wide throughout the morning, she said.
For information on alternate routes, commuters are asked to check 511.org or call 511. The transit trip planner on the site will offer options excluding BART.