A PSA posted to the San Francisco Travel website on Friday warned visitors of a potential strike that "could have a huge impact on the regional transportation system." And indeed, it has. As of 3:30am Monday morning, the entire Bay Area Rapid Transit system has suspended service, forcing commuters to brave heavily congested streets in taxis and carpools, or simply work from home.
But for travelers, the solution is less clear-cut. "We are giving guests plenty of warning to help them plan their trip," Edwina Kluender of Mandarian Oriental San Francisco told us. "For example, a lot of guests ask for an airport pickup, so we have allocated extra time. It normally takes a half hour to reach the airport, but now we're doubling that time just in case, and making sure drivers get there earlier."
As of now, It is impossible to tell just how long the strike, which is in its second day, will last. @511SFBay is posting regular updates on Twitter; but in the meantime, here are a few alternative modes of public transportation:
The Embarcadero BART station may be out of commission, but that hasn't affected the dozens of ferries that pull in and out of there every day. Golden Gate Ferry operates two main routes from San Francisco to Sausalito and Larkspur ($10.25 and $9.50 each way, respectively). Other ferry routes connect travelers to Oakland, Harbor Bay, Vallejo, and popular Alcatraz Island.
As downtown parking garages reach capacity, rental cars are quickly proving more hassle than their worth. Instead, make use of San Francisco's many, many bike rental shops (a full-fledged bike sharing program is set to debut later this summer). SFMTA offers this handy bike map, detailing the dozens of routes accessible throughout the city—the map even points out which streets are particularly hilly, so you won't have to do more work than necessary. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has also chimed in with their tips on how to "Bike the Strike."
MUNI, which operates a full system of buses (single rides from $2), Metro light rail (single rides from $2), and the iconic 'trolleys,' or cable cars (single rides from $6) throughout the city, has thankfully increased service on heavy-use routes like the J-Church and N-Judah lines, offering a viable alternative to BART. Traffic jams have caused considerable delays during rush hour, but by avoiding early mornings and late afternoons, most travelers should be able to avoid that.
Are you visiting San Francisco this week? How has the strike affected your experience so far?