OAKLAND, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the possibility of BART trains once again coming to a halt as early as Oct. 11, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) urges Bay Area commuters and other travelers to review their contingency plans, and especially to form carpools before hitting the road. Comprehensive information about traditional carpooling, casual carpooling (including maps of casual carpool pickup locations) and dynamic ridesharing is available on a special BART strike information page at alert.511.org.
If a BART strike does occur this month, it would be expected to have a bigger impact on regional mobility than the four-day strike in early July 2013, with many thousands more vehicles than usual crowding onto streets, highways and bridges as people travel to work and take their children to school.
Preliminary analysis of regional travel during the July BART strike shows that about 52 percent of the 56,000 commuters who ordinarily would have used BART to travel between the East Bay and San Francisco in the morning either stayed home or cancelled their trips. Of the remaining 48 percent, the largest number (approximately 12,000) joined carpools as either a driver or passenger. Carpools can save both time and money by taking advantage of high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Bay Area freeways and discounted tolls on the region’s toll bridges.
Casual carpool pickup locations already are established near several BART stations, including El Cerrito del Norte, Lafayette, North Berkeley and Orinda. At other stations, passenger pick-up/drop-off locations (marked by a white curb) can be used as casual carpool sites. These sites will be especially convenient because BART will make its parking lots and garages available free of charge as park-and-ride locations in the event of a work stoppage. Commuters can find their closest casual carpool pick-up location or park-and-ride lot on a special interactive map at traffic.511.org/#bartstrike. Travelers are encouraged to use #casualcarpool on Twitter to find out where drivers are needed or to tweet out where riders are needed. 511.org provides the 511 RideMatch Service to help commuters instantly find a short-term or long-term carpool match.
To encourage casual carpooling for the evening commute out of San Francisco, a team of MTC contractors will distribute $5 gift cards (redeemable at Peet’s Coffee & Tea) to drivers who pick up passengers at casual carpool locations on Spear Street between Howard and Folsom. In addition to urging travelers to carpool, MTC advises commuters to avoid peak driving periods by working at home if possible, or traveling earlier or later than usual.
Detailed information about alternative transit services also is available at alert.511.org. In the event of a disruption to BART service, other transit providers such as AC Transit, San Francisco Bay Ferry, Solano County’s Soltrans and the Western Contra Costa Transit Authority, are expected to adjust their services to accommodate more San Francisco-bound commuters.
Ferries provided the second most popular alternative (after carpools) for transbay commuters during the July BART strike, accommodating about 7,000 additional riders each day, while roughly 3,600 commuters boarded buses operated by AC Transit, Soltrans or WestCAT; 2,600 additional solo drivers crossed state-owned toll bridges and 1,600 rode BART-chartered buses from select East Bay stations. Buses, like carpools, can reduce travel times by taking advantage of high-occupancy vehicle lanes on bridge approaches and other Bay Area freeways.
Should a BART strike occur in October, BART will provide limited charter bus service to downtown San Francisco from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. from nine East Bay stations: Concord, Dublin/ Pleasanton, El Cerrito del Norte, Fremont, Hayward, Lafayette, San Leandro, Walnut Creek and West Oakland. Because space on these buses is severely limited, riders are strongly encouraged to arrive early. Morning passengers will be issued a round-trip ticket, and must present this ticket to board an afternoon bus for the return trip to the East Bay.
MTC is the transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, and operates the region’s 511 traveler information system.