SF Bay Area commuter rail service resumes

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 5, 2013 at 6:42 pm •  Published: July 5, 2013
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BART serves more than 400,000 commuters each weekday. It carries passengers from the farthest reaches of San Francisco's densely populated eastern suburbs to San Francisco International Airport across the bay.

The strike began early Monday after negotiations broke off. Talks resumed Tuesday amid mounting political and public pressure. Negotiations continued on Wednesday and again for nearly 12 hours on Thursday before the parties announced the strike was over.

The stoppage caused stress and frustration in the region. Commuters lined up early in the morning to either carpool, wait for BART's free charter buses or catch ferries heading to San Francisco while enduring heavy rush-hour traffic on the Bay Bridge.

Commuter Star Salgado, 27, of Richmond, said Friday that she hasn't given up on BART but may continue carpooling.

"This week was such an inconvenience that I don't know if I can put up with BART right now," Salgado said after opting to take the transit agency's free shuttle into San Francisco. "I just want to get through today."

BART said workers from the two unions now average about $71,000 in base salary and $11,000 in overtime annually. The workers also pay a flat $92 monthly fee for health insurance.

BART's previous strike lasted for six days in 1997.

Antonette Bryant, the ATU Local 1555 president, said late Thursday that BART is "on notice" and has 30 days to hammer out a new deal.

"We're not going to let them hijack us and the riding public and we are deeply sorry this had to happen," Bryant said.

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Follow Terry Collins at https://twitter.com/APtcollins.