Under Shadow of 2 Deaths, BART Goes Back to Work

'This has got to be the last time that this happens,' says Gavin Newsom
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2013 12:40 AM CDT
Deaths Probed as SF Transit Strike Ends
With the BART transit system on strike, traffic slows on Interstate 80 leading to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge yesterday morning.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

After four days of massive traffic jams and overcrowded buses and ferries, Bay Area Rapid Transit and its two biggest unions have reached a deal that will bring the rail strike to an end, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. "This offer is more than we wanted to pay, but it is a new path with our workers and it delivers the BART of the future," said the transit system's manager, announcing plans to get some trains running this morning and bring the system back to full strength for its 400,000 weekday users by this afternoon.

The strike—the second in three months—began after talks on pay and safety issues broke down last week. "This has got to be the last time that this happens," said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who joined the negotiating teams. But while the strike is over, the investigation into the deaths of two workers killed by an out-of-service train over the weekend is likely to last a long time, the Los Angeles Times reports. "I don’t want it to be forgotten that two lives have been lost," said the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 after the deal was reached. Federal investigators have revealed that the train that killed the men as they inspected the tracks was being driven by an "operator trainee"—believed to be one of the managers BART was training so service could continue even during a long strike. (Read more Bay Area Rapid Transit stories.)

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