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July 2, 2013

AC Transit carries thousands of extra riders during BART strike

Photo courtesy lensovet, Wikimedia Commons.

Photo courtesy lensovet, Wikimedia Commons.

AC Transit buses rolled at peak capacity in the immediate aftermath of the labor dispute that has shut down the Bay Area Rapid Transit Districts’ (BART) normal train operations.

In response to the BART walkout, dozens of AC Transit staff volunteered to arrive early at key BART stations where they assisted in crowd control and provided directions to passengers who might be unfamiliar with bus operations.  

To further manage the unusually high volume of riders, the agency deployed its 60-foot articulated buses onto its heaviest passenger lines, most notably its Transbay service which carried standing-room only loads into San Francisco. Additionally, extra service was added to augment Transbay trips from downtown Oakland into San Francisco.

AC Transit operators made 99% of their schedule runs without a hitch despite uncommonly long lines of riders at bus stops and having to maneuver packed coaches through heavily congested roadways. By 9:30 a.m. all passengers — thousands of them — were cleared from a bottleneck in downtown Oakland.

“Our operators did a magnificent job under some stressful conditions that will likely persist until BART returns to its normal service,” said AC Transit General Manager David Armijo. “The operators and the staff volunteers are commended for stepping up at a time when their services were so badly needed.”

Meanwhile, the talks between Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192 and AC Transit management will continue in an effort to reach a labor agreement with the agency’s bus operators and mechanics.  The contract expired midnight Sunday. The ongoing talks will allow AC Transit to continue to provide a high level of service, and marks a clear victory for bus riders.

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