BART

Isabel Angell

The Bay Area could see its second BART strike in three months on Friday if the transit agency doesn’t reach a deal with its unions by midnight tonight. The two sides are closer together than they were back in August, but conflicting statements from the unions and management could be a bad sign.

On Wednesday night SEIU 1021 and ATU Local 1555 said the two sides were close to a deal, but BART pulled the offer. BART spokesman Jim Allison countered by saying "any suggestion that BART offered a proposal and withdrew it is categorically untrue."

If you're still trying to understand what exactly BART and its unions are fighting over, you're not alone. Obviously, the fight is over compensation, but many of us are unclear as to what each party is really asking of the other. Even bargaining representatives on both sides are having a hard time agreeing on the factual differences between their own proposals. Last Wednesday, union and management teams sat down just to clarify some of their financial assumptions — assumptions that have led to multimillion-dollar disagreements over what each side is truly proposing.


East Bay Express: BART's big gift to wealthy corporations

Jul 18, 2013
Courtesy of EastBayExpress.com

BART's board of directors, many of whom were elected on progressive, pro-labor platforms, have taken a hard line against employees at the bargaining table, arguing that the transit system is starved for cash. In truth, however, BART's financial documents show that the agency regularly diverts tens of millions of tax dollars each year that could be used to fund day-to-day operations — including worker salaries — toward expensive expansion projects, such as the planned rail extensions to San Jose and distant East Bay suburbs.

Ride-sharing apps soar during BART strike

Jul 5, 2013

The BART strike left hundreds of thousands of Bay Area commuters scrambling for a way to work, but some companies found an upside:  ride-sharing apps like Avego and Sidecar all experienced huge bumps in ridership during the strike.

Sidecar, an app that lets people request a ride from the nearest driver, said it gave 40 percent more rides than than the previous Monday, and had twice as many people sign up for the app than usual. The company also had double the usual number of people applying to be drivers, and had been offering more trainings to accommodate them.

BART strike enters 2nd day, commutes worsen

Jul 2, 2013

UPDATE 1:37PM:

BART officials just announced that negotiations will resume tonight at 6pm. BART spokesperson Rick Rice said, "After one full day of no meetings, we are eager to get back to the table.”

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Tuesday’s commute seems to be shaping up to be worse than yesterday's. Freeways backed up sooner, ferry lines were longer, and the free shuttles that BART provided from five East Bay stations filled up quicker.

Meanwhile, BART and its unions have yet to sit down to talks since Sunday, although both sides did speak with a state mediator last night.

BART strike continues

Jul 2, 2013

LA Times: BART strike enters Day 2, promising more commuting chaos

Excerpt: “I wish I had news for you, but BART hasn’t offered any new proposals to bring about a resolution, and we’re on the second day of our strike,” said Cecille Isidro, a spokeswoman with Service Employees International Union Local 1021 – one of the two unions striking. “They have not come back with any proposals that address critical safety issues and fair pay.”

BARTocalypse? For this reporter, not so much.

Jul 1, 2013

While BARTocalpyse was causing major trouble over in Oakland, the commuters at the El Cerrito del Norte BART station at the Richmond border seemed calm. That’s where I was this morning, trying to get to Potrero Hill in San Francisco.

Del Norte is one of the four stations in the East Bay where BART is providing a free roundtrip shuttle to Oakland and SF, and several main AC Transit lines run right by it. That might have helped congestion at the nearby casual carpool line, where there were about 20 cars waiting for riders to walk up.

BART workers strike

Jul 1, 2013

Bay Area Rapid Transit workers are now on strike after failing to reach a deal on contract negotiations.

The 400,000 commuters who rely on the San Francisco-area rail system are now having to find a different way to get to work. Reports from Oakland say the casual carpool lines are extra busy. Over at the El Cerrito de Norte BART station, a line of free shuttles offering round trips to Oakland and San Francisco is easing the crowds. The ferries are running extra boats, and the lines, while long, are not as bad as some commuters expected.

BART workers on strike

Jul 1, 2013

BART unions prepare for strike authorization vote

Jun 25, 2013

With no solution in sight to a wage impasse, labor unions representing the Bay Area's commuter rail system are voting Tuesday whether to authorize a strike.

BART and the labor unions have been deadlocked for months. The current contract is set to expire at midnight on Sunday.

BART has asked a state mediator to step in and help the stalled labor talks between the Bay Area transit agency and its five unions. The mediator, which unions have welcomed as well, is scheduled to start next week. The current labor contract expires on June 30.

At a public meeting on May 23, the BART Board of Directors decided that two five-day pilots weren’t enough to make a permanent decision about whether to allow bikes on trains during peak hours. Instead, they decided to create another pilot -- this one five months long -- review the results, and make a permanent decision in November.

After several pilot projects testing bike access on Bay Area BART trains, BART officials recommended that bikes be allowed on trains at all hours and in all stations. This would be a big change from the current rules, where riders can’t bring bikes on trains or into the cramped 12th and 19th Street stations during peak commute hours.

Mariel Waloff

Residents in the city of Richmond are reeling from a recent shooting spree, including the murder of a 19-year-old. The city has had four homicides so far this year – all committed in public, all during the day. And there have been other daytime shootings. They’ve shocked city residents – because crimes like that are no longer the norm.

KALW’s criminal justice reporter Kyung-Jin Lee joined Holly Kernan in studio to talk about the crime drop in Richmond – and what other cities can learn from Richmond’s approach.

BART and unions begin contract negotiations

Apr 7, 2013

BART contracts for its union workers – who make up almost 90 percent of BART’s over 3,000 employees – are set to expire on June 30th. That’s sent BART and union leaders to the negotiating table. Both sides are hoping to avoid the bitter and contentious fight that happened during the last contract negotiations in the summer of 2009.

Isabel Angell

Usually, bikes aren’t allowed on San Francisco-bound BART trains during peak morning commute hours, or back to the East Bay in the evening. And they’re not allowed in the 19th Street or 12th Street stations during commute hours at all. But this week, BART has opened up all hours and stations to bikers. It’s a trial period, and to make it work, BART officials and cycling groups are urging to riders follow the rules: no bikes on the first three cars during peak hours, and no bikes on crowded trains.

BART fares and parking fees set to rise

Mar 7, 2013

Public transportation costs are set to rise in the Bay Area, a region with some of the most congested freeways and longest commute distances in the country. Last week, BART directors came together and voted to pass increases for ride fares and parking fees. These increases are designed to be small and incremental and to rise with inflation. The first fare hike will happen on January 1, 2014 and will raise prices by 5.2 percent. That means the average ride will go from $3.59 to $3.78. Further fare increases will be implemented every two years until 2020.

There’s one race still up for grabs in the Bay Area: Measure B1, Alameda county’s proposed new transit tax. 

BART back on track after service shutdown

Jun 14, 2012
Julie Caine

After a full shutdown of service between San Francisco and Oakland since early this morning, transbay BART service is now fully restored, but the agency is warning commuters to expect delays. AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said at least 20 extra buses will shuttle passengers across the bay at no cost; 511.org is reporting that these buses will run until about 6pm. The San Francisco Bay Ferry service will also deploy two extra ferries per hour.

Courtesy of Thomas Hawk/Creative Commons

In a conference room at the BART police headquarters in downtown Oakland, a DVD plays a scenario. The screen shows a woman, and she’s really angry. She’s just been locked out of her house after finding out her husband is cheating on her.

“Goddamn it, this is my house, let me in bitch, are you cheating on me?” the woman yells “I hate you! Why are you doing this to me?”

Her aggression grows, quickly turning violent. She kicks one officer, and he falls to the ground. An officer in the DVD tells the woman to drop the shovel, but the woman continues to yell.

The Federal Transit Administration has committed $900 million to the Bart Silicon Valley project. This extends the existing Bart system 16 miles south to San Jose. Construction can begin, and if all goes as planned, the extension could be running four years from now...

Lisa Ratner

It’s Hattam Moktor’s second day in San Francisco. He arrived from Egypt yesterday and spent today seeing the sights in the city. Now he’s standing in front of an empty station agent’s booth at the Embarcadero BART station trying to get back to his brother’s East Bay apartment.

“I want to ask someone how to get there, so I came here, but there is no one to ask. So I found you! So I will ask you how to get there. Walnut Creek?” Moktor laughs.

Moktor pulls a crumpled BART map out of his back pocket, and we look at it together. What he needs is a Pittsburg-Bay Point train.

This year is BART’s 40th birthday. While some people swear that 40 is the new 30, when it comes to subway systems, 40 is just plain over-the-hill. About two-thirds of BART cars have been running the rails since the system opened, in 1972.

Paul Oversier is in charge of operations at BART. He says that because BART trains run long distances and at higher speeds than other subway systems, it gives the system a dubious distinction. “We have the oldest cars, and we run them the hardest,” he says.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Hamilton.

If you’ve ridden on BART lately, you might have seen a photograph of a blue and white beach umbrella standing at the edge of a green farmer’s field. The caption reads, “Those are potatoes.” Or one with a girl in a cowboy hat standing upright in her horse’s saddle, swinging a lasso over her head. The caption: “She’s Also Pretty Good At Volleyball.” Or one with a boy wearing a green 4H tie, proudly holding a goat to his side. “Jesús and Lightning,”

The photos are visions of rural California, pasted on the walls one of the state’s most iconic urban structures.

Frustrated by cuts to the judiciary system, some Bay Area courts are pushing for legislation that would transfer control of the system's $3 billion budget from a central bureaucracy to lawmakers and local trial judges. The California Assembly votes today on the measure... 

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