11:59 p.m. Update: Union representative Roxanne Sanchez said negotiations will continue through the weekend. If a deal is not reached by Sunday at midnight, a strike is still possible for Monday morning.
Leaders of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and Service Employee International Union Local 1021 are still in negotiations with BART management to reach an agreement on worker pay raises, pensions and healthcare and avoid a possible strike Friday morning.
After a nearly five day strike earlier this summer, Governor Jerry Brown called for a 60-day cooling off period. That cooling off period–which allowed BART trains to keep running while negotiations continued–ends at midnight Thursday.
About 375,000 people take BART on an average weekday, according to data from the agency. Nearly 4,000 of those commuters exit at the Richmond BART station.
Walnut Creek resident Sue Garrigues said she rides BART every day to get to work in Richmond, and if she has to drive she estimates it will cost her about twice as much.
“I don’t think they should be even be going on strike,” Garrigues said as she waited for a BART train Thursday evening. “They should have settled a long time ago.” Garrigues believes that BART workers are already well compensated, and she thinks that if the workers’ wages increase that BART fares will likely increase also.
Not everyone agrees with Garrigues’ sentiment, though. Oakland resident Maria Coca rides BART to her job on 23rd Street in Richmond. Coca said she will drive if there’s a BART strike, and she supports the workers. “If people need to go on strike, that’s their choice,” she said.
AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said the strike will not have any impact on bus service other than buses being a little more crowded.
BART released a statement earlier Thursday night to reassure travelers that its call center will be fully staffed, in the event of a strike, to provide contingency plans for travelers. The phone tree is accessible at 510 465-2278.
More updates to come.