S.F. Transit Workers Strike; Traffic Tie-Ups Loom

Associated Press

Commuter bus drivers struck Saturday in a dispute over wages and the use of part-time workers, raising the specter of massive tie-ups on roads into the city next week as riders try to get to work by other means.

The walkout by Golden Gate Bridge District drivers, if it continues into the work week, will affect 34,000 daily commuters in three counties who travel by bus or the district's ferries into San Francisco or within Sonoma and Marin counties.

The strike started at 12:01 a.m. after negotiators for Division 1575 of the Amalgamated Transit Union and the district failed to break a deadlock by the midnight deadline. The union represents about 300 drivers and telephone information operators. The old contract expired Dec. 31.

District officials said they expected maritime union members working the Larkspur and Sausalito ferries to honor bus drivers' picket lines.

Car Pools Advised

People using the buses and ferries were advised to make car pool arrangements for getting to work Monday.

The mass of commuters suddenly forced to use cars suggested nightmarish traffic jams on the approaches to the Golden Gate Bridge on both sides. The bridge connects San Francisco with Marin County to the north.

Another ferry fleet planned extra trips Monday morning and evening to handle the waterborne commuter crunch.

The last district bus strike, in 1976, lasted 64 days.

"It's going to cause a tremendous backup unless we can get people to (use) car pools," district General Manager Carney Campion said.

"I just want to tell the public I'm sorry," said Anthony Withington, president of the union division. "There's nothing the drivers can do. We are being held hostage."

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