Transport Hubs Gone Haywire: Navigating Strikes and Shutdowns in NYC, San Francisco & More

by  Alex Schechter | Oct 10, 2013
Plane / Biletskiy_Evgeniy/iStock

The travel gods must be angry this month – otherwise, we don't know how to explain the recent spate of transportation breakdowns happening around the world. France, New York City, San Francisco; you name it, something's going wrong. As a result, we feel like crawling under a rock and hiding until the madness has passed. But for many of you, not traveling is simply not an option – and anyway, that's just part of the fun of traveling, right?

At 5:00 a.m. local time this morning, France announced a one-day strike by dozens of air traffic controllers, creating a domino effect in delays for thousands of passengers flying into or connecting through Paris and other European cities. Furthermore, because the strike impacted routes that passed over France, EasyJet and Ryanair reported cancellations on UK flights to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, and North Africa – in other words, their largest and most popular hubs. Luckily, the strike is scheduled to end at 7:00 p.m., though we're keeping tabs on the possibility of follow-up strikes.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the threat of yet another BART strike is looming over the city like a black cloud. At 11:59pm PST, a judge-ordered truce between BART and its labor unions (essentially a short-term fix to a long-term problem) will expire, allowing for the possibility of a strike to occur as soon as, well, tomorrow. The good news? We've been through this before, and we're actually getting pretty good at working around the strike. Back in July, we offered you not one, but two rundowns on alternative ways of getting around San Francisco in the absense of BART. (Just don't plan on visiting Alcatraz, which is closed due to the government shutdown, and that's a whole other story). Check for updates on BART's Twitter page.

Finally, New York City is still in the throes of a shutdown of its AirTrain system, which traditionally connects subway passengers to the terminals at JFK. As we explained earlier, the full closure – due to maintenance issues – will last until next Thursday October 17. In the meantime, travelers have a wide array of transportation alternatives, including shuttle buses, local buses, or, of course, hailing a taxi on your smart phone.

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