Train stations go silent 

click to enlarge Turnstiles were taped up Monday during BART's first work stoppage since 1997.
  • Turnstiles were taped up Monday during BART's first work stoppage since 1997.

If Monday's travel patterns were any indication, Bay Area commuters heeded the advice of traffic-armageddon forecasters warning to plan ahead because of the BART work stoppage.

Some lucky commuters had faster-than-normal trips, while others felt the wrath of losing the region's most-used public transit system.

On the Bay Bridge, 39,546 vehicles crossed the toll plaza. That's 1,000 fewer than the 40,556 crossings the previous Monday, June 24, said the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Yet fewer cars did not always translate into less time on the road, as Alameda resident Jeff Liss discovered.

The English instructor at City College of San Francisco left his home for the bridge at 6:30 a.m. Monday. Normally a 30-minute trip, it took two hours Monday.

Meanwhile, East Bay drivers going south on Interstate 80 into The City averaged 68 minutes of travel time, only 13 minutes longer than normal, said Caltrans spokesman Steve Williams.

But those using the Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo-Hayward bridges saw commute times drop by several minutes.

"A lot of people were spooked and adopted a wait-and-see attitude," Williams surmised of the travel oddities.

"Commuters are creatures of habit," said John Goodwin, a spokesman for the MTC, which oversees all regional transit. "People were driving today who were not in the habit of doing so – so that creates a ripple effect upstream."

But the going was rough on the water. Some 7,835 people — triple the normal load — piled onto San Francisco Bay Ferry vessels, said spokeswoman Kat English.

Parking spots at the Alameda terminal were gone as of 6:30 a.m., which meant some commuters were sent scrambling to buses.

AC Transit more than doubled its capacity load to about 30,000 passengers. Actual passenger totals were not available Monday.

Muni carried 70,000 extra passengers, a 10 percent increase, said spokesman Paul Rose.

About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has worked as a reporter in San Francisco since 2008, with an emphasis on city governance and politics, The City’s neighborhoods, race, poverty and the drug war.
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