BART Service Restored, Expect Delays

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Good times
Update (4:23 p.m.): Bart has just notified passengers that the trains between San Francisco and Oakland are running again. The bad news is that commuters will still be facing delays on their ride home. Crews worked through the day and had the trains back on track by 3:45 p.m. To help ease this painful day, BART will extend direct service on the Fremont and Daly City lines by one hour today. Happy commuting!

Update (2:45 p.m.) BART sent out an alert, saying it expects to have service restored by 4 p.m. today, just in time for the evening commute. Meanwhile, the Chron reports that police are looking for three teens who were harassing a security guard at the complex where the fire started moments before the blaze broke out.

Update (noon): It appears lines of commuters have been stretched for blocks as they wait to board buses to carry them over the Bay Bridge. SF Appeal explains that there aren't enough buses to accommodate commuters, thus creating the passenger backup at various locations.

Update (9:30 a.m.): BART officials are now saying that they will offer limited service to commuters traveling between the East Bay and San Francisco by late afternoon.

Original story (7:22 a.m.): BART's Transbay Tube between Oakland and San Francisco has been completely closed down this morning after a fire started at a construction site near the West Oakland station early this morning.

According to BART officials, the fire started at an under-construction senior center between Fifth and Seventh streets next to the West Oakland BART station. The fire reportedly spread to lampposts, cars, and power poles, and took down electrical wires. It then spread to the elevated BART tracks, forcing officials to shut down power to the tracks.

The good news is nobody was injured. The bad news is BART might be closed for hours -- or even days.

BART spokesman Jim Allison told reporters this morning that he's not sure how long the Transbay Tube will be closed, but said it could be days, if needed.

So what are you commuters to do? BART says if you are traveling between Oakland and San Francisco that you definitely need to find an alternate route. AC Transit has made some changes to bus routes to accommodate BART riders, the SF Appeal reports.

AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson told reporters that while the agency has not added any more buses to its routes, transbay buses that would normally stop elsewhere in Oakland will be diverted to BART stations to pick up distressed commuters.

Now, if you are trying to get to San Francisco, officials say that you can get off BART at either the MacArthur or 19th Street Oakland stations where you can catch a transbay bus.

All buses coming from Oakland will arrive at the Transbay Terminal at Beale and Howard streets; travelers from San Francisco to Oakland will also be able to catch buses there to the East Bay.

BART service is not affected throughout the East Bay or along the Peninsula, the agency said. However, trains from Fremont and Pittsburg/Bay Point are turning at the downtown Oakland 12th Street Station, and Dublin/Pleasanton trains are turning at Bay Fair Station in San Leandro, the Chron reports.

More good news: BART tickets will be honored today for trips to San Francisco. 

Commuters should go to www.511.org for more information about alternative commute options.

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