OAKLAND, Calif. — San Francisco Bay Area rapid transit workers are on strike for the second time since July, scrambling the morning commute for hundreds of thousands of workers who were up before dawn to clog highways, swarm buses and shiver on ferry decks as they found alternative ways to the office.
Six months of on-again, off-again negotiations have brought agreement on key issues such as raises, health care and pensions. But there remained a snarl Friday: a package of work rules involving when schedules are posted, whether workers can file for overtime when they've been out sick, and how paychecks are delivered.
The labor details were meaningless to Marsha Smith, who watched the sun rise as she rode toward her office in a crowded bus. Like many commuters Friday, Smith left her house while the moon was still shone brightly to be sure to make it in on time.
"I am so tired. I am so frustrated and I'm so over it," the court records supervisor said.
At the West Oakland BART station, a frazzled Tatiana Marriott raced to board a free charter bus to San Francisco shortly after 6 a.m. She had to be at work by 7 a.m.
"I probably should've gotten up a half-hour earlier," said Marriott, 21, a seamstress, conceding that she would be late for work.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit system carries a ridership of 400,000 daily through tunnels under the bay and into the region's urban core of San Francisco from four surrounding counties, relieving what would otherwise be congested bridges.
In an effort to alleviate delays, many of the Bay Area's other 27 transit systems added bus, ferry and rail service Friday. Carpools and rideshare programs were also busy, and more cyclists took the streets.