With the possibility of BART trains once again coming to a halt as early as Aug. 5, 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.
Thousands more vehicles than usual are expected to crowd onto streets, highways and bridges if there is a work stoppage at BART. Carpools can save both time and money by taking advantage of designated high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Bay Area freeways — and the Sterling Street priority on-ramp to the eastbound Bay Bridge in San Francisco — 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. Travelers also can use #casualcarpool on Twitter to find out where there are drivers needed or to tweet out where riders are needed. 511.org offers a 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 Beale Street between Howard and Folsom Streets, and 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.
The popular 511 Transit Trip Planner on the 511.org website offers the ability to plan door-to-door transit trips that include or exclude BART. 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, will adjust their services to accommodate more San Francisco-bound commuters. Detailed information about these services also is available at alert.511.org.
BART will provide limited charter bus service from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. from seven East Bay BART stations: Concord, Dublin/Pleasanton, El Cerrito del Norte, Fremont, San Leandro, Walnut Creek and West Oakland. Buses from outlying stations will stop first at the West Oakland BART station, where passengers can transfer to San Francisco-bound buses. 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.