Although major freeways were crowded during the morning rush hours today, so far the BART strike that began this morning has not had the major impact on commuters that was feared.
Pleasanton officials worked in tandem with BART and other agencies to handle this morning's traffic and alternative transit options at the two BART stations serving Pleasanton and Dublin riders.
Buses forming BART's alternative commute service referred to as the "bus bridge" were at the East Dublin/Pleasanton station and left in stages, with empty seats on some and standing room only conditions on others. By mid-morning, buses were sitting empty, waiting for passengers.
Commuters and car-poolers can park free in both Dublin/Pleasanton station parking lots, but the lost were less than half-filled by mid-day.
but elevator access is not guaranteed at the East Dublin/Pleasanton parking structure.
Both BART parking facilities and Pleasanton's Park & Ride lot are expected to fill up fast this morning.
The Pleasanton Police Department has been on the scene since early this morning to manage traffic flow and any impacts resulting from the temporary bus stops.
Officials said many commuters took the suggestion of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and did their business by telecommuting from home or simply stayed at home today.
Also, with the Independence Day holiday Thursday, and many already planning to take Friday off as well, this is a vacation week for many. That means that the full impact of a BART strike might not come until next Monday, July 8, if the strike is continuing then.
The strike - the agency's first since a 1997 action that lasted six days - began with an announcement at midnight from representatives from BART's two largest unions, Service Employees International Union 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 155.
A midnight announcement confirming the strike came as the unions' four-year contracts expired following days of failed negotiations with BART
"A strike is always the last resort and we have done everything in our power to avoid it," SEIU Local 1021 spokeswoman Josie Mooney said.
"Unfortunately, BART seems intent on forcing a strike," sahd added.
BART officials, however, have said they offered a pay raise amounting to more than 8 percent over four years in their latest contract proposal but have met with repeated resistance from union negotiators.
"We've sweetened the deal by $6 million, we doubled our wage proposal, and they came down half a percent - that's where we are right now," BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said Sunday.
Mooney and other union officials apologized early this morning to the roughly 400,000 riders who rely on BART daily and said they hoped to resolve the labor dispute as quickly as possible.
More than a dozen workers began picketing at the Lake Merritt BART station a short time later, and remained at the station as of 1:30 a.m.,
according to SEIU Local 1021 spokeswoman Cecille Isidro.
More were expected to join the picket line at that station and others system-wide throughout the morning, she said.
For information on alternate routes, commuters are asked to check 511.org or call 511. The transit trip planner on the site will offer options excluding BART.