OAKLAND — Commuter rail service resumed Friday in the San Francisco Bay Area after unions called off a strike and agreed to extend a labor contract for a month while bargaining continues.
Thirty-five trains were put back in service in time for an expected light evening commute, the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency said.
Frances DeLoach of Oakland was among the dozens of commuters who lined up at the West Oakland station for the first trains to San Francisco after nearly five days without service.
DeLoach, catering supervisor at AT&T Park, was excited that she didn't have to drive and pay as much as $50 to park, and could take the time to focus on preparing her staff before the Giants-Dodgers game.
"I sure hope BART and those unions can resolve their issues," DeLoach said.
The current contract between BART, the nation's fifth-largest rail system, and its two largest unions will be extended for 30 days after expiring earlier this week.
"The parties will continue to negotiate just as hard as they are now," California Labor Secretary Marty Morgenstern said late Thursday. "The battle's not over. The job's not done."
Morgenstern said he and two top state mediators urged the bargaining parties to agree to an extension of the current labor deal. Both groups had said they were far apart in negotiations, but details were not provided.
"Unfortunately, the issues that brought us to this point remain unresolved," BART General Manager Grace Crunican said.
Key sticking points in the labor dispute include salaries, pensions, health care and safety.
Josie Mooney, a chief negotiator for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, asked the public to help keep the parties on task.
"We stand together tonight and we expect to be standing together with a new contract at the end of Aug. 4 and we hope to goodness that you insist that all the parties do the right thing," Mooney said.
BART serves more than 400,000 commuters each weekday. It carries passengers from the farthest reaches of San Francisco's densely populated eastern suburbs to San Francisco International Airport across the bay.