This is why people get angry with their public officials: The best advice from a Bay Area Rapid Transit spokesman to commuters stranded by a fire that stopped train service was "take a nice day off and enjoy the sunshine." That's what BART spokesman Jim Allison said according to SFist's Andrew Dalton.
Really, that's probably not what people want to hear at 8:30 a.m. when they've been stranded in crowds and are trying to force their way onto shuttle buses to get to jobs they might not be able to get "a nice day off" from. Contrary to the stereotypes, Californians are normal people, not the chilled-out beach bums some people, apparently including BART's Allison, think they are. The East Bay Express' Ellen Cushing has a normal person's response to the commuter madness via Twitter:
seriously this is like act 1 scene 1 of what I imagine the apocalypse being like #bart— Ellen Cushing(@elcush) June 14, 2012
Poor BART, though. The stoppage wasn't even the transit system's fault. The fire that closed its Transbay Tube started at "an under-construction senior center in a framing stage between Fifth and Seventh streets directly next to the West Oakland BART station," reports KTVU. SFist's Dalton notes, "Firefighters shut off power to the tracks as a precaution, but the fire damaged some infrastructure including some utility poles." Now they've got buses scrambling to get people across the Bay and into San Francisco, and the freeways are all tied up with traffic. Sure, Allison may be right: It would be a good day to stay home. But you don't say that unless you want to be seen as the Marie Antoinette of transit spokespeople.