The Bay Area Council Economic Institute conservatively put the daily economic cost to the Bay Area of the BART union strike at $73 million a day, as the region reels from the loss of its most critical mass transit system. The figure includes only the cost of lost worker productivity, and doesn’t include the cost of overall lost economic activity.
“The Bay Area economy is suffering, along with hundreds of thousands of commuters,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The Bay Area Council and our 250 members companies implore the BART unions to end this damaging strike and return to the bargaining table, and we urge both sides to reach a fair and reasonable agreement.”
The $73 million figure includes the cost associated with reduced productivity among workers delayed in traffic or forced into longer commutes on other forms of transit. The Bay Area Council expects the figure would be considerably higher if it factored in lost economic activity from workers and others whose spending is reduced because they stayed home or altered their normal routines. It also doesn’t include increased fuel costs related to traffic delays. The figures also assume that employees who are working at home rather than going into the office are maintaining the same level of productivity.
“There is an additional hit to economic activity that we know is happening but which we can’t easily quantify, but which could add tens of millions of dollars to the total,” Wunderman said. “The solution is simple: End the strike and get back to the bargaining table.”