Tonight, the A's welcome the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Coliseum for the first time ever. But unfortunately, there might not be many fans there to witness it, given that BART workers are on strike and the commuter rail service is completely suspended for the first time since the last strike in 1997. So what are your options for this upcoming series against the Cubs? Unfortunately, they're limited, but here are a few suggestions for getting to the Coliseum. This can also serve as an open thread about the BART strike, but let's make sure that the conversation is about the A's, the Coliseum, and your transportation options -- regardless of how you feel about the strike and its merits, getting into a heated, two-sided political conversation on AN won't help anything.
Parking at the Coliseum: The first thing to note is that the Free Parking Tuesday promotion is NOT being offered tonight, since the series against the Cubs is expected to draw larger crowds. The promotion wasn't offered for games against the Giants and Yankees, either. The Coliseum lots are open and fans are encouraged to carpool; the A's are expecting to have enough spots to accommodate however many parties show up, at least for tonight. The story might be different tomorrow night for the Fireworks game.
Parking at the Coliseum BART Station: As with all BART station parking lots, the BART lot at the Coliseum will be open and parking will be free of charge during the strike. But THIS IS IMPORTANT: To get to the BART Bridge between the Coliseum Station and the Coliseum itself, I'm hearing you'll need to walk around the BART Station onto San Leandro Boulevard and enter the bridge from the station's west side, since the BART Station access tunnels that go under the train tracks immediately east of the BART tracks will be closed. This should add about three or four minutes of walking between the BART lot and the Coliseum, but it shouldn't be a dealbreaker.
Capitol Corridor: A lot of people probably aren't familiar with using Capitol Corridor to get to the Coliseum, so I'll provide a little more detail here. If you have a friend driving to one of the night games who can give you a ride home, this is a potential option. Here's a cute little table to help you if you're coming from the North (Amtrak calls these Westbound trains, coming from Sacramento to San Jose). Note that I'm using high-traffic stops as examples but there are stops in between. Check out the full schedule here.
|Arrives @ Coliseum Station
Obviously, neither of those trains coming from the North is a great option -- one gets you there more than an hour early, the other roughly 40 minutes late. And Amtrak doesn't run trains late enough at night to get you home -- the last Eastbound departure from the Coliseum is 8:11pm. As I said, you'd need to find a way to get home, but if you only need help getting to the Coliseum, this might be a good bet.
Here's the same thing if you're coming from the South:
|Departs San Jose
|Arrives @ Coliseum Station
That last train actually works out really well in terms of timing. Still no ride back, though. For fares and complete schedules, click here.
For July 4th, you can (and should) take the train both ways because it's a day game! That's my recommendation for Thursday, without a doubt. Here's the weekend/holiday schedule.
In general, Capitol Corridor probably costs about twice as much as BART per unit of distance; fares range from $7.50 to the $18 range if you're coming all the way from Sacramento or San Jose. However, you can use this discount to get 25% off the fare for adults and 50% for accompanying children if you're travelling to the Oakland Coliseum station (HT to commenter "cheesesteaks3" for that one).
AC Transit: Let's be honest: you probably don't want to do this. AC Transit in East Oakland at 10 or 11pm can probably be dicey. Safety on buses themselves is usually OK, but no guarantees. It's definitely worse when you're waiting. But here are a few AC Transit options nonetheless:
The 1R: This rapid bus travels a limited-stop route from Downtown Berkeley BART all the way to Bay Fair BART in San Leandro. It generally moves pretty quickly, and it goes through Downtown Oakland. The problem is that the 1R goes down International Boulevard, about a 15 minute walk from the Coliseum through a neighborhood that, as I said, you might not want to walk through late at night. See the answer below, though:
The 73: Basically takes you from the Coliseum BART Station to the 1R on International Boulevard. You can buy a transfer pass when you board for 25 cents if I recall correctly.
The 20: If you're headed back to Alameda, you can also take the 73 up to International and then board the 20 to Alameda.
To sum it up, if you're travelling along the 680 corridor, your public transportation options are limited. I didn't even cover your options coming from the other side of the Bay because you basically have to drive. But don't take it from me, take it from the A's statement:
"A large number of our fans do take BART to the games. In light of the strike, we are encouraging all fans to car pool to the games and all of our lots will be available for parking including offsite parking. We believe that we will be able to accommodate all fans for the next three games."
As Marine Layer on newballpark.org points out in this post about the transportation fiasco, the last time there was a BART strike, the A's drew crowds of 4,764 and 6,135 for weekday games against Toronto. Granted, the team was playing poorly and attendance in general was lower, but still -- here's hoping A's fans can avoid forcing the team to play in front of similarly pathetic crowds this week, despite the transportation difficulties.
Feel free to use this thread to organize carpools with one another also! Make it clear whether you're offering or asking for a ride, and where you're coming from/going to.
Update: The A's are now offering $5 Plaza Reserved tickets online, probably in an effort to mitigate the expected pathetic-ness of tonight's drive-in only crowd. So if you have a ride and are low on cash, tonight's your night! That promotion's only valid until 4:30pm, though. Also, BART and its employee union representatives will resume negotiations tonight at 6pm, so hopefully we get service back for July 4th, if not sooner.