While BART and their unions are currently negotiating, there is a strong possibility that the transit agency could be shut down by a strike tomorrow. The Lab is encouraging all employees who may be impacted to begin making commuting plans or to consult with line management about permission to work from home. The Lab’s Zimride program is another option. Staff should monitor local news for any updates on the potential strike. Refer to transit.511.org for alternative means of transportation. More>
[Daily Cal] The cities of Berkeley and San Francisco are slated to launch a pilot electric-bicycle-sharing program in spring 2014. The program partners City CarShare, a Bay Area nonprofit car-sharing service, with the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies. During the pilot period, the Transportation Sustainability Research Center will evaluate energy and environmental impacts of the service and test the electric bicycle’s influence on commuters’ methods. The pilot period will end in 2018. Participants can access the bikes from up to 25 locations, eight of which are in Berkeley—including areas on the north and south sides of campus as well as in Downtown Berkeley. More>
As the BART strike continues, employees are reminded that the Lab’s Zimride program may provide a convenient alternative commute option. Staff who are driving or need a ride can register with the service, which connects you with fellow commuters going the same way. Go here to access the service.
As an additional commute option for employees who use the free after-hours taxi service — which ends on May 31 — a Blue Route shuttle bus will make additional runs between approximately 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., starting on Monday, June 3. A review of taxi-service usage found the majority of rides took place between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., so the extended schedule will cover this time period. The same route and stops as those employed during regular hours will be used, as well as the NextBus notification system. Following is the schedule for the extended runs:
Bldg. 65 (downhill): 7:28, 8:16, and 9:04 p.m.
BART: 7:40, 8:28, and 9:16 p.m.
Bldg. 65 (uphill): 7:52, 8:40, and 9:28 p.m.
Bldgs. 62/66: 8:04, 8:52 p.m.
Thanks to those who provided feedback on the announcement about discontinuing the free after-hours/weekend taxi service. While Lab management is exploring alternative options — possibly a final shuttle at approximately 9 p.m. — the free taxi service will still end on May 31. Deciding factors include rapidly escalating costs (nearly threefold in the last three years), tightening Lab budgets, and the fact that a relatively small fraction of the Lab population uses uses the service (some regularly), while remaining employees use the shuttle or their own transportation. Current alternatives include the Zimride ride sharing service, the Guaranteed Ride Home program, paying out-of-pocket for taxi service, and modifying work schedules to align with Lab shuttles, which run from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
In 2010, the Laboratory contracted with Friendly Cab for an off-hours taxi service that provided free rides to employees and affiliates during the non-operational hours of the shuttle service. Effective May 31, due to budgetary constraints, this free service will be discontinued. Past this date all taxi rides will be at the expense of the rider.
The Lab shuttle bus stop formerly located at the southwest corner of Oxford and Hearst, which was moved to accommodate construction of the Energy Biosciences Building, has been reactivated. The temporary stop at University and Oxford is now closed. The move was prompted by feedback from riders.
Berkeley Lab is testing retractable seatbelts on one of our buses as a result of the recent survey of shuttle bus riders. Of the 168 responses to why riders don’t wear seat belts, the main reason was lack of seat-belt accessibility. If the test goes smoothly, retractable seat belts will be installed on all shuttle buses. In a video for Road Safety Day, Director Paul Alivisatos reminded riders to wear seat belts for their safety. Take the survey for a chance to win an $8 coupon at the Bay View Café. The final drawing will be in August. Go here for more on the Lab’s Road Safety program.
With construction in that area now complete, the bus stop at the Building 74 complex, near Strawberry Gate, is back in service. Also a new stop has been added to the Bevatron parking lot. The stop is called “Building 51” and is serviced on both uphill and downhill routes.
Effective immediately, Friendly Cab (510-536-3000) will pick up from the parking area at the third floor entrance to Donner Lab on Gayley Road, from 7:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. on weekdays and 24 hours on weekends. The change is in response to recent crime incidents in the area. Go here for more on the Lab’s off-hours transportation service.