UPDATE (8 September 2009): The Bay Bridge is open!
Caltrans has announced that the Bay Bridge will not reopen Tuesday at 5:00 a.m., as previously planned. An inspection of the east span revealed a cracked eyebar, the repair of which will require another day. The new deadline for the reopened bridge is now Wednesday, September 9 at 5:00 a.m. As much of a hassle as the extra delay is, it is obviously critical that Caltrans take the time it needs to be certain the bridge is safe, and this weekend’s closure really presents the best opportunity to do that.
Since last Friday, the Bay Area has managed to scrape through this bridge closure with remarkably few traffic problems; and, for the most part, bus and rail routes were not overly-crushed. But that success is largely due to the fact that fewer overall trips were made. Many people, upon hearing that the bridge would not be open the day before a three-day weekend, had planned vacations to take advantage of the extra-long weekend. They will have no doubt expected a newly-opened bridge to await them for their Tuesday morning commute.
With a true workday commute on our hands Tuesday, and no Bay Bridge in service, it is especially important for transbay commuters to have a backup plan — preferably, if at all possible, one that does not involve simply detouring to other bridges. If you can at all avoid putting your car on the road tomorrow, please do so. Instead, take advantage of transit options, bike, carpool, or even work from home if that’s an option. Bay Area transit agencies do not alone have the capacity to offset the roughly 270,000 daily trips on the Bay Bridge. But they will be out in full force tomorrow, fortified and running extra service to accommodate higher passenger loads. Transit alternatives, after the jump:
- BART: BART is no longer offering overnight service. BART will operate longer trains, but on a normal weekday schedule. If you normally drive to a BART station, note that BART’s parking lots will probably fill up early. Allow extra time to walk, bicycle, take transit, or carpool to a station, or arrange to be dropped off.
- Alameda/Oakland Ferry will offer a total of 26 round trips. Departures from Alameda, Oakland, and San Francisco will be roughly every 30 minutes between 6:00 a.m. and 7:55 p.m.
- Alameda Harbor Bay Ferry will offer a total of 24 round trips, 6:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, and 2:05-8:05 p.m.
- Golden Gate Ferry: A high-capacity ferry (715 passengers) will depart Larkspur for San Francisco at 7:30 a.m., and the same vessel will be used for the 5:20 p.m. San Francisco departure to Larkspur.
- Vallejo Baylink Ferry will add one extra ferry run and two extra buses to BART in the morning and the evening.
- Muni will operate the 108-Treasure Island bus 24 hours per day, more or less as usual except for a few stop changes.
- AC Transit: This weekend, the majority of AC Transit’s transbay bus routes (those that normally cross the Bay Bridge) fed riders into four East Bay BART stations: North Berkeley, MacArthur, West Oakland, or Coliseum, depending on the route. AC Transit will use the same service pattern on Tuesday, September 8. AC Transit’s all-nighter Route 800 will connect to BART at 12th St/Oakland City Center.
- Amtrak riders should transfer to BART at Richmond. More information here; the same services described there will be provided on Tuesday.
- Greyhound riders should transfer to BART at 19th St/Oakland. Limited shuttle service on the San Mateo Bridge will also be made available.
- WestCAT: Instead of the Lynx transbay service, WestCAT will operate a shuttle in the morning and evening commute hours, as it did on September 4. The shuttle will run between Willow Avenue and Hercules Transit Center, where riders can transfer to WestCAT Express Service to El Cerrito del Norte BART station. Click here to see the replacement shuttle’s timetable. (The website says that the shuttle will be operated on September 4 only, but the same schedule will be used on September 8.)