him to the morning's first AC Transit transbay bus, which was full of extra
riders looking for a BART alternative.
Twenty minutes after his shift was supposed to begin at a Levi's store in Union Square but two hours after he left his East Oakland home, Julian Damone, 23, was stuck at the West Oakland BART station waiting for a shuttle.
"It's really a killer," Damone said.
Also furious was Gabriel Mendieta, who was getting conflicting information about how he could get from the station to Fisherman's Wharf. Mendieta, who works at an Applebee's making San Francisco's minimum wage of $10.55 per hour, said he had little sympathy for striking BART workers.
"They get paid more than teachers do. They get paid more than I do, more than half the people that are commuting do," Mendieta said. "I barely make ends meet."
Just around the corner, a crew of Google workers was embarking on a breezier company shuttle ride from West Oakland to the tech company's Mountain View headquarters. One worker waiting for the unmarked "G-Bus" said he had no idea that BART workers were on strike.
Evening commute slow
During the evening commute, Pleasanton resident Julie Jackson said the strike made her trip a lot longer.
"Two-and-a-half (hours) as opposed to 45 minutes" to get home, Jackson said while sitting in a charter bus next to the temporary Transboy Terminal that was about to depart for BART's West Oakland station just after 3 p.m.
Zac Campbell agreed with Jackson that the union's deserved most of the blame as he stood in line for a Berkeley-bound AC Transit bus at the terminal.
"They've got a pretty good deal with those salaries from my point of view," said Campbell, who lives in West Oakland.
He said perhaps a cost-of-living increase would be acceptable but he has a hard time coming to terms with BART employees paying a flat rate for health care, no matter how many dependents are included. Not only is his commute about 30 minutes longer, but it also costs more to take the bus, he said.
At the Embarcadero BART station, turnstiles were blocked, with the slot to put the ticket in plastered over with an orange "out of service" sticker. A man headed to San Francisco International Airport go catch a flight to his home back east was informed by a BART employee that trains were not operating after he tried to get through the turnstile.
"I just paid $8.25 for this ticket and I just learned BART is on strike," said the man before leaving the station to hail a cab that he expects will cost him $60 to get to the airport.
Keith Kelly, 35, was one of several people who showed up at the BART station oblivious to the strike. Kelly said he had just returned from a trip to San Diego and had walked to the station to catch a train to SFO for the second leg of his vacation.
"I have a friend coming to pick me up," he said, as he stood against a light pole at the nearly deserted station around noon. "I am inconvenienced."
Stella Peterson of Pleasanton, who works at Safeway there, said some of her coworkers didn't show up for work -- one from Castro Valley and one from the Modesto area.
"Being a fellow worker, I don't blame them for fighting for what they deserve," Peterson said. "It's a shame that the rest of use have to suffer."
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