Despite having reached a deal Monday night to end a four-day Bay Area commuter-rail strike, staffing issues made for a rocky start for BART riders Tuesday morning.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit system issued a service advisory early Tuesday, warning riders to expect 30- to 45-minute delays systemwide. After the labor deal was announced 10 p.m. Monday, BART officials had told commuters to expect limited service, with full schedules not expected to be running until Tuesday afternoon.
The strike by BART's two largest unions stung its estimated weekday ridership of 400,000 more sharply Monday than it had Friday, as residents who had taken a long weekend or worked from home scrambled for buses, ferries and carpools -- or sat for hours in gridlocked traffic.
BART General Manager Grace Crunican declined to reveal details of the deal before union leaders shared them with membership, but she did say the offer is "more than we wanted to pay."
"We compromised to get to this place, as did our union members," she said.
Union members must still vote to ratify the agreement, and the BART board must approve it. Union leaders praised it as a win for workers' rights.
The BART strike was the second to hamper travel and commerce in the region since July, when a 4 1/2-day walkout was brought to a close by the intervention of Gov. Jerry Brown, who called for a 60-day cooling-off period.
The stop-and-start negotiations between management and its two biggest unions -- Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 -- began in the spring, but negotiations nevertheless crumbled Thursday and the strike was called.
After four days of no commuter rail service, riders on Tuesday morning started lining up for trains at 4 a.m., but some were instead forced to take chartered buses.
"We don't have enough people for BART service just yet but we're working on it. Thank you for your patience," tweeted ATU 1555, the union representing BART train operators.
Despite the sluggish restart of service, the end of the strike was reason enough for celebration, particularly among city leaders anxious to get the system -- and the local economy -- back on track.
In a statement issued Monday night, San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee said he was thankful both sides had come to terms.
"I am grateful and relieved that BART union and management leaders have finally reached a tentative agreement that ends this devastating transit strike that has negatively impacted hundreds of thousands of Bay Area working families and our regional economy," he said.
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