Cabdrivers picking up fares at 1 a.m. at the Pittsburg-Bay Point BART station don't greet them with a "Hello," "Where to?" or even "What's going on?" It's always "So, you fell asleep on the train, eh?"
It's a uniquely unpleasant -- and financially unenviable -- situation to be roused by a BART worker at a terminus station when the hour in which one could catch a return train has passed. And yet, the ongoing BART negotiations are brewing a potential new meaning for "last train."
Tomorrow is the deadline for the four-month negotiating session; if the clock strikes midnight and a deal is not in place, then a BART strike could render every station after-hours Pittsburg-Bay Point.
We phoned negotiators for both the SEIU Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transportation Union Local No. 1555 to ask for a progress report. Our calls haven't yet been returned. Meanwhile, BART consultant (and damage control maven extraordinaire) Sam Singer was easily reachable.
"The drop-dead date is tomorrow, but no one's set a time -- certainly by the midnight hour," he confirmed. "We need to have a reasonable contract that's fair for riders and employees. Everyone is at the table trying to get a solution."
When asked how negotiations were going, Singer gave a somewhat ominous answer: "It's a good sign that they're still going."