Reuters

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

Dashiell Bennett
Dashiell Bennett

Dashiell Bennett is the former editor of The Wire.

Most Popular

  1. Homeless individuals inside a shelter in Vienna in 2010
    Equity

    How Vienna Solved Homelessness

    What lessons could Seattle draw from their success?

  2. Two New York City subway cars derailed on the A line in Harlem Tuesday, another reminder of the MTA's many problems.
    Transportation

    Overcrowding Is Not the New York Subway's Problem

    Yes, the trains are packed. But don’t blame the victims of the city’s transit meltdown.

  3. Postcards showing the Woodner when it used to be a luxury apartment-hotel in the '50s and '60s, from the collection of John DeFerrari
    Equity

    The Neighborhood Inside a Building

    D.C.’s massive Woodner apartment building has lived many lives—from fancy hotel to one of the last bastions of affordable housing in a gentrifying neighborhood. Now, it’s on the brink of another change.

  4. Life

    Why a City Block Can Be One of the Loneliest Places on Earth

    Feelings of isolation are common in cities. Let’s take a look at how the built environment plays into that.

  5. Members of a tenants' organization in East Harlem gather outside the office of landlord developer Dawnay, Day Group, as lawyers attempt to serve the company with court papers on behalf of tenants, during a press conference in New York. The tenant's group, Movement for Justice in El Barrio, filed suit against Dawnay, Day Group, the London-based investment corporation "for harassing tenants by falsely and illegally charging fees in attempts to push immigrant families from their homes and gentrify the neighborhood," said Chaumtoli Huq, an attorney for the tenants.
    Equity

    Toward Being a Better Gentrifier

    There’s a right way and a wrong way to be a neighbor during a time of rapid community change.