The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) just sent over a press advisory suggesting that Bay Area residents prepare their contingency plans for getting to work starting next Wednesday, July 1st, in case BART workers don’t get the contract they want and go on strike. Such an action would cripple the region’s transportation network and send over 330,000 regular BART riders scrambling to find another way to travel, most likely forcing them onto already crowded freeways.
"Tomorrow puts us a week out, so it’s potentially very serious," said MTC spokesperson John Goodwin, though he didn’t give indication that they put out the release to raise fears about a strike. "BART is a critical part of the bay area transportation network. If that part of the network were to be lost at any time, that puts a lot of strain on the rest of the network, particularly the road system. None of the other agencies, which are operating under severe financial duress, will be able to pick up the slack. With that option off the table the best thing people can do is arm themselves with information and figure out what works best for you."
The last time BART workers walked off the job around contract negotiations was in 1997, when BART had 85,000 fewer riders that it currently does.
From the MTC release:
Thousands more vehicles than usual are expected to crowd onto Bay Area streets, highways and bridges if there is a work stoppage at BART. Commuters are advised to carpool, take an alternative transit service, avoid peak driving periods by traveling earlier or later than usual, or even work at home if possible.
MTC urged regular BART commuters to plan ahead for the worst by using the 511 Transit Trip Planner, which "offers the ability to plan door-to-door transit trips that include or exclude BART. In addition to the 511 Transit Trip Planner, 511.org offers a RideMatch Service to help commuters instantly find a short-term or long-term carpool match, and an interactive map of carpool lanes and Park & Ride lots."
Get your popcorn, kids, it could be a very interesting beginning to the new month.