San Francisco transit strike is avoided

July 07, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

SAN FRANCISCO - A last-minute agreement early yesterday avoided a commuter rail strike that had threatened to tie knots around the San Francisco Bay Area, a region that relies heavily on public transportation.

After long days of negotiations, officials from the Bay Area Rapid Transit District reached a tentative agreement with union leaders that averted a strike set for midnight yesterday.

Officials say the tentative pact addresses the transit district's $100 million, four-year deficit without raising fares.

Officials announced the deal at 3 a.m., 40 minutes before the first trains were scheduled to depart for the early-morning commuter rush.

The announcement that a strike has been averted - at least for now - came as welcome news to many. The system serves more than 300,000 riders daily.

For days, BART officials had warned commuters over station public-address systems of the possibility of a strike.

Big employers and building managers in San Francisco's financial district, meanwhile, had urged workers to telecommute or car pool.

Some downtown workers left their offices Tuesday toting enough work to last them for weeks.

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