civic center BART station on strike day one. flickr: steve rhodes.
There’s no question that a transit strike is a major setback. It instills in people the sense, consciously or unconsciously, that they cannot count on transit being there when they need it…
Fully 63.5 percent of the 400,000 daily trips on BART are to or from the San Francisco downtown area, and 50.1 percent of all BART trips go through the Transbay Tube, according to data from BART’s monthly ridership reports. On weekday mornings it carries about 21,000 people per hour to the west side of the bay. By comparison, the Bay Bridge carries about 24,000 people per hour in the same direction. Both systems are currently very congested for much of the morning and afternoon peak hours (though not all the cars on the bridge are full), according to a Bay Bridge congestion study.
Although only about 5 percent of the region’s workers use BART during the morning peak, taking that 5 percent off the road brings tremendous benefits to our roadways and to other travelers. With BART’s closure, we see how moving that small number of people off transit and onto roads causes “chaos” through much of the region. Many of the highway corridors that BART serves are operating near capacity at peak hours already — which is part of why BART keeps breaking ridership records. When highways are operating near capacity, it takes very few added cars for congestion to become gridlock.
- Lesson No. 1: The Need for Redundancy
Depending on the circumstances, we may need transit to back up our roads or roads to back up our transit — or ferries to back up both. We need buses to back up trains, trains to back up buses, and carpools to back up both.
- Lesson No. 2: Transportation Requires Communication
- Lesson No. 3: The Benefits of Workplace Flexibility
- Lesson No. 4: The Need for Complete Communities