Sorry for the delay in posts, but work calls. Guest Blogger Wednesday will be posted later today!
Just when you thought nothing could ruin this great weather, or a Fourth of July on an actual Saturday (yay!), there’s word that BART may go on strike July 1st, due to acrimonious labor negotiations brought on by a crappy economy (and the fallout from less sales taxes and the Green Governor’s elimination of transit funding.) I’ve only been reading about this for a few months, but there are signs that we very well may have a strike next week. Worse, this will happen at the same time MUNI will be jacking up fares and making service cuts. This is an epic transit FAIL in the making.
There’s really no way to plan ahead for the strike if you rely on BART (although you can try), since without knowing if it’s going to actually happen or not, you really don’t know what your options are, beyond driving. If you rely on BART within San Francisco (which is not what most people do) you can bypass it and hop on a crowded MUNI bus.
But if you’re like many people who commute to the Peninsula or the East Bay (as I often do), your options are a lot more limited, and will pretty much ensure you’re either going to spend a lot more time waiting and commuting, be it on SamTrans or AC Transit, or in a car. Add to this the fact that more cars will be on the road means any “time savings” are negated by being stuck in traffic, idling away and burning all that $3/gallon gas.
Add to all of this the fact that this will hurt tourism, especially when we’ve got Fourth of July coming up, as well as Giants games, A’s games, and so on, and the shockwaves of a strike begin to take shape.
For myself, this is going to be a royal pain in the ass, as I’ve recently taken on a client in South SF, which while accessible by CalTrain, isn’t nearly as good as taking BART as the Caltrain doesn’t always stop at South SF, and the station location is not nearly as easy to get to and from the office. More troubling though is that if I have anything to do in the East Bay, there’s no great option.
It would be nice if in these difficult times everyone (labor, management, elected officials, us) could try working together to make it through a crap-tacular economy, instead of this zero-sum “everyone for themselves and screw everyone else” mentality that has taken hold, locally and elsewhere. Militant talk makes people “feel” better, but realistically, workers can’t be expected to work for free, and public entities are not Santa Claus and can’t hand out every goodie out there for free, either.
No one is going to win in a strike, the loss of fares will make BART’s budget worse, and the lack of faith that the public will have in all sides will be the biggest loss of all.
BART, unions, electeds, owner/riders? Get your sh*t together. We have enough crap to deal with already, and we don’t need our holiday week ruined by your childish bullsh*t.
PS: Fun fact: If BART wasn’t forced into the business of buying overpriced health “insurance,” and we had say, a single payer system, over half of its projected deficit would vanish. Why employers are even in the business of providing benefits is something for another blog post (on another blog) but it really shows how parasitical health “insurance” really is as a business
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