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Rideshare Services Handle Increased Passenger Load From BART Strike

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Ridesharing services were working to keep up with increased demand Monday, with BART service shut down due to a labor strike.

Uber, which connects passengers to drivers through a mobile smartphone application, had been anticipating the strike and the corresponding surge in Monday morning ride requests.

Company spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian said enough drivers were available to meet the demand, mostly coming from the East Bay. The morning commute went relatively smoothly, with wait times for rides not longer than usual, she said.

Sidecar, another ridesharing service, had 50 percent more drivers out on the road compared to last Monday, and there was a 40 percent increase in rides as of 9:30 a.m., company officials said.

Sidecar spokeswoman Margaret Ryan said all drivers in the Bay Area network have been asked to give rides to help commuters stranded by the strike.

In another effort to meet demand, Sidecar is offering additional driver trainings this week to boost the supply of available rides.

All available drivers for Lyft, a third ridesharing service, have also been asked to work, company officials said.

Taxi driver John Han, who works for Yellow Cab in San Francisco, said things seemed quieter than normal early Monday morning.

"The people that are normally here, they are not here because they are stuck in traffic" trying to get into San Francisco, he said.

He said it would be a different story if there were a Muni shutdown instead, and noted that the evening hours will likely be busier for local cab drivers as commuters head out of San Francisco.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency set up taxi stands at the Transbay Terminal and at the San Francisco Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets Monday morning.

For the evening commute, taxi stands will be set up at downtown hotels, according to Muni officials.

Rides to the airport were fairly steady Monday, Han said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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