The city's notoriously tough commutes are about to get a lot harder.

San Francisco's notoriously tough commutes are about to get a lot harder as the Bay Area is waking up to a transit strike that will mean a day without trains. The contract for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 expired at midnight and the group elected to go on strike, effectively shutting down the Bay Area Rapid Transit system just in time for rush hour.

City officials in Oakland, San Francisco, and surrounding towns are already bracing for snarled traffic, overcrowded buses, and a lot of late employees. According to the Contra Costa County Times, BART trains make 400,000 trips every weekday, with more than half bringing riders back and forth across the large bay. Many of them have no cars, and thus no alternative transportation. Those that do are expected to clog highways that already feel overloaded on good days. 

Even worse, the contract of a related union that represents city bus drivers has also expired, and while they haven't declared a strike yet, a spokesperson said they would be watching on Monday to see if there is a "safety risk to bus drivers and passengers" because of overcrowding. If they decided to walk as well, the city would lose its two biggest public transport options.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee asked the two sides to keep trains running while they continue negotiations. However, the two sides remain deeply divided over proposed pay increases and benefit payments, which the BART says are overly generous compared to other public service workers. This is first transit strike in the Bay Area since a 1997 strike that last for six days.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A vehicle goes by the scene of Sunday's fatality where a pedestrian was stuck by an Uber vehicle in autonomous mode, in Tempe, Arizona.

    Fatal Uber Crash Raises Red Flags About Self-Driving Safety

    After a woman in Tempe was killed by a self-driving Uber, local law enforcement was quick to absolve the company of blame. Transportation experts aren’t so sure.

  2. A woman at a homeless encampment in Anaheim, California

    The Unhappy States of America

    Even with the economy humming, Americans are feeling more anxious, depressed, and dissatisfied with their lives than they did in 2009.

  3. Transportation

    6 Ideas for a Better New York Subway

    The beleaguered system looked outside its own ranks for ambitious new fixes.

  4. Premabhai Hall, Ahmedabad, India

    City of Doshi: The Architect Who Shaped Ahmedabad

    Balkrishna Doshi, this year’s winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, has left a deep imprint on Gujarat’s biggest city—and not only through his buildings.

  5. Design

    The Seductive Power of a Suburban Utopia

    Serenbe, an intentional community outside Atlanta, promises urban pleasures without the messiness of city life.