Commute back to normal, more take BART 

Commuters faced few obstacles other than an availability of parking at transit stations Tuesday, but transportation officials said a full understanding of the impact would not come until later this week.

Drivers experienced a commute that was heavier but more normal than Monday’s relatively breezy trip, when mass transit was free and commuters were encouraged to stay at home or telecommute.

The easy driving commute for East Bay residents coming into The City was evident in the metering lights never coming on Monday and the 18 percent dip from the average Monday traffic passing through the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza, according to data from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

The lights came on, however, before 7 a.m. Tuesday, but officials weren’t ready to say what this disaster completely had to offer in terms of its impact on Bay Area commuters.

"I think it will be a few days before this all settles out,"Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman John Goodwin said, noting that there were differences between the morning and afternoon commutes. "I think we’re going to have a pretty good sense of how things will shake out by the end of the day Thursday."



By noon Tuesday, BART had 158,000 passengers on its system, 13,000 more than its average daily ridership for the same time period, said Jim Allison, spokesman for the transit agency.

Allison said the service plan for today is "virtually identical" to Tuesday’s, including longer trains and more frequent trips for riders.

"Every day we’re adjusting the service for the next day based on what we saw on that particular day," Allison said. The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District carried roughly 11,000 passengers across the Bay on 26 bus lines, and they experienced a regular load both Monday and Tuesday, spokesman Clarence Johnson said.

"We’re bracing ourselves for an increase of some sort," Johnsonsaid. "I think most people are mystified by the lack of commuters given the condition of the freeway."

On Monday, when mass transit was free in the Bay Area, Vallejo ferries carried roughly 3,000 more passengers than their daily average of 2,100, but that number dipped to roughly 200 more than the average Tuesday, Vallejo Transit Superintendent Crystal Odum Ford said.

The additional demand for transit meant strain on parking at the ferry terminals and BART stations around the Bay. Ferry and BART officials both encouraged people to carpool to the stations, be dropped off or take a bus to ease the demand on parking spaces.

dsmith@examiner.com

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