Update: Normal BART Service Expected In Time For Friday Morning Commute

By: Ja'Mein Beale - Thu, 14 Jun 2012 20:56:58 -0800

OAKLAND (KRON)--BART officials expect normal service between San Francisco and the East Friday following a fire that disrupted Transbay service for hours on Thursday.
The fire broke out at a retirement home that was under construction near the West Oakland BART station around 2:15 a.m Thursday, according to BART officials. It damaged electrical equipment, but no one was injured and no homes or occupied buildings were damaged,  Battalion Chief Adrian Sheppard said. Firefighters had the fire under control at around 4 a.m. but remained on the scene investigating the cause as repair crews surveyed the  damage.
Meanwhile with no BART service through the Transbay Tube Thursday morning, commuters traveling between San Francisco and the East Bay were forced to turn to  alternate modes of transportation. AC Transit buses were deployed to various Oakland  BART stations -- including Fruitvale, MacArthur, 12th Street, 19th Street and  West Oakland -- to pick up riders who were stuck, AC Transit spokesman  Clarence Johnson said.
Bus lines grew long -- stretching for blocks in some locations --  as riders found that there was not enough space on arriving buses to accommodate them. 
"Buses that are normally in our yard ... have been deployed,"  Johnson said mid-morning. "Folks just need to be patient."
BART riders trying to get into the city were instructed to  disembark at the MacArthur or 19th Street/Oakland stations to catch buses,  but demand was so high that commuters were left waiting for more than an  hour.
On lines stretching for blocks, commuters waited to catch a bus or ferry boat into San Francisco. The California Highway Patrol said traffic on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was heavier than usual as many drivers waited for more than two hours to cross the bridge.
By 2 p.m., AC Transit had deployed an additional 20 buses to the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco to carry passengers free of charge to the East Bay.
BART officials hoped to have limited service by the early afternoon and full service in time for the evening commute. About 400,000 people take BART trains on a weekday, the transit agency said, but more commuters than usual were expected due to the opening round of the U.S. Open golf tournament and a San Francisco Giants afternoon baseball game.
Just after 3 p.m., BART began running test trains through the areas at the site of the blaze and announced shortly before 4 p.m. that Transbay service had been restored with service expected to operate normally for Friday morning's commute.  
Meanwhile, the cause of Thursday morning's fire is under investigation, but authorities consider it suspicious.
Stay tuned to KRON 4 and KRON.com for updates on this developing story.
(Copyright 2012, KRON 4 and wires, All Rights Reserved.)


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