SAN FRANCISCO, July 3 (UPI) -- Commuter gridlock persisted in the Bay Area Wednesday, as California officials pressed Bay Area Rapid Transit workers and management to end a three-day strike.
Talks broke off Tuesday with no deal between BART and the union representing its workers, leaving the nation's fifth-largest public transportation system shuttered and forcing commuters to find other ways to get around.
The system includes 44 stations and 104 miles of lines. More than 40 percent of commuters traveling to San Francisco daily from the East Bay use the BART system, said John Goodwin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
MSN news reported Wednesday California Gov. Jerry Brown directed the chairman of the Public Employment Relations Board and the head of the State Mediation and Conciliation Services to help keep talks moving forward.
Democratic state officials complained in a letter about "the lack of productive proposals and counter proposals in the days leading up to the strike."
Freeways were clogged and masses of commuters put a strain on local ferry services, MSN said. Bus service was said to be doubled in some areas.
The union had asked for a 5 percent raise in each of the first three years of a four-year contract. BART management countered with a 2 percent raise for each year of the contract, which covers 2,400 workers who keep the trains running.
BART said union train operators and station agents average about $82,000 per year, including more than $10,000 in overtime pay. The workers pay a flat $92 monthly fee for health insurance.
Union and management remain far apart on issues including pension, healthcare and job seniority rules, MSN said.