BART strike causes commuters to fill Bay Area's roads, ferries

The Bay Area's roads and ferries are filling this morning with commuters trying to get around the region after BART workers went on strike starting today.

BART is running limited round-trip bus service from nine East Bay stations, but tickets for the buses were already sold out by 7 a.m. at the Walnut Creek and West Oakland stations, agency spokeswoman Luna Salaver said.

Salaver did not immediately have information about whether buses were still taking passengers at the other seven stations -- El Cerrito del Norte, Concord, Lafayette, Dublin/Pleasanton, San Leandro, Hayward and Fremont.

She said only people with the round-trip tickets will be able to board the afternoon commute buses from Howard Street between Beale and Fremont streets in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, drivers woke up earlier than usual to travel by car this morning, with traffic filling up the westbound highways toward San Francisco.

Westbound state Highway 24 was backed up all the way to the Caldecott Tunnel, while westbound Interstate Highway 80 was backed up to about San Pablo Dam Road, California Highway Patrol Officer James Evans said.

Northbound Interstate Highway 880 was backed up to state Highway 238, while the San Mateo-Hayward and Dumbarton bridges also had heavier traffic than usual, Evans said.

San Francisco Bay Ferry service began running earlier than normal this morning with a 5 a.m. boat from Vallejo to San Francisco and one at 5:30 a.m. from Oakland to the city, ferry spokesman Ernest Sanchez said.

Sanchez said the ferries are seeing an increase of passengers but "it's not as great as it was during the height of the July strike," when BART's unions previously held a work stoppage earlier this year.

"It's heavier than normal but nothing extraordinary," he said.

Sanchez anticipated more crowds for the afternoon commute when people who took casual carpools into San Francisco this morning may take ferries back.

"We have good carrying capacity," he said. "We'll be fine."


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