San Francisco Bart train closed by labour strike

Commuters wait to pay their tolls on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge 1 July 2013 Commuters wait to pay a toll to cross the Bay Bridge into San Francisco

A labour strike has shut down San Francisco's transit rail system, the fifth-largest in the US, snarling the morning commute for 400,000 people.

Two of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (Bart) system's largest unions went on strike at midnight after last-minute pay talks with management collapsed.

The two sides - each of which said it regretted the inconvenience - accused one another of abandoning talks.

The strike is expected to put an extra 60,000 vehicles on the area's roads.

The Bart system, which also serves Oakland, Berkeley and other areas, was last closed by a strike in 1997 - for six days.

'No choice'
Commuters board a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train during rush hour on 29 October 2009 About 400,000 commuters use Bart each day

The unions sought a 5% annual raise over the next three years, dismissing a management counter-offer of 8% over four years as "surface bargaining".

"Our members aren't interested in disrupting the Bay Area, but management has put us in a position where we have no choice," Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 President Antonette Bryant told the Associated Press.

The other striking union, Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said it was awaiting another offer after Bart management left the bargaining table.

The unions represent nearly 2,400 train operators, station agents, maintenance workers and other staff.

Meanwhile, Bart management accused labour negotiators of walking away from talks.

"We have a long way to go but we can't get any closer if we aren't at the table," Bart spokesman Rick Rice said in a statement.

"The public doesn't deserve to be punished. We are sorry they have decided to strike despite the fact we are willing to negotiate."

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said the city would offer more transportation options on Monday and boost traffic control staff.

More on This Story

More US & Canada stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Prostitute in red light district in Seoul, South KoreaSex for soldiers

    How Korea helped prostitutes work near US military bases


  • LuckyDumped

    The rubbish collector left on the scrap heap as his city cleans up


  • Walmart employees and supporters block off a major intersection near the Walton Family Foundation to stage a protest calling for $15 an hour and consistent full-time work in downtown Washington October 16, 2014. Black mark

    Wal-Mart workers revolt against the annual shopping bonanza


  • Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1More than 'Games'

    Fact and fiction blur in Mockingjay film.


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • UnderwaterHidden depths

    How do you explore the bottom of the ocean? BBC Future finds out

Programmes

  • All-inclusive holidaysThe Travel Show Watch

    With all-inclusive holidays seeing a resurgence are local trades missing out to big resorts?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.