Early this morning, there was a fire in West Oakland that spread to the West Oakland BART station. The fire was reported to be hot enough to melt streetlights and signs. As a result, the West Oakland BART station was closed this morning, effectively closing the Transbay tube connecting Oakland and San Francisco -- stranding East Bay BART commuters.
This resulted in an increased demand for AC Transit and carpooling. The busses were packed during rush hour, and auto traffic across the Bay Bridge increased. When there was an accident on the upper (westbound) span, traffic delays increased to over two hours.
One canceled rush hour on one leg of public transportation resulted in massive gridlock and tremendous costs to business (not to mention the stress on the commuters themselves.) As we continue to make cuts in the subsidies to public transport, we're going to shift traffic to overburdened bridges and roads.
Today's fire should be taken as a warning of an ominous future if we keep shifting people away from public transit.