Aside from the skeletal BART service plans, the MTC is looking into running charter bus service itself. Commissioners will discuss that on Wednesday but some have concerns about having to pay stiff cancellation fees if a strike doesn't occur. They are also concerned about any liability they could incur, as well as just being seen as getting involved in a labor dispute or lessening the urgency of settling a strike.
It's not clear where the MTC buses would run, but the focus would be on getting people across the Bay Bridge.
Empty seats in cars provide the biggest alternative to BART during a strike, but the trick is getting drivers used to driving alone to take a few friends or strangers along for the ride. The commission and Caltrans are considering ways to encourage carpooling by making it faster and easier. Among the things being contemplated are temporarily extending carpool lanes using shoulders, such as on Interstate 880 north, making carpool lanes longer, as was done in Interstate 80 during the July strike, even reconfiguring lanes at the toll plaza.
It's all on the table
"Everything is on the table about what we could do," said Randy Rentschler, an MTC spokesman. "But no decisions have been made."
Almost no decisions, that is.
Rentschler said the idea of restricting the Bay Bridge to carpools only -- as New York City did with its bridges and tunnels during the morning commute for two years after Sept. 11 and a shorter stretch after Hurricane Sandy -- is not being considered. Nor is converting one of the five lanes on the Bay Bridge to a carpool- and bus-only lane.
Whatever steps are taken, no one should expect them to take more than a little bite out of a BART-strike commute backup.
"BART's capacity is irreplaceable," Goodwin said. "Anything we do is really just tinkering around the edges."