Transit strike hits San Francisco area for second time in four months

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Workers for the San Francisco Bay Area's major transit system are walking off the job today for the second time in four months.

That means no train service for the 200,000 commuters who use the service each day.

Officials from both unions representing workers for Bay Area Rapid Transit as well as the agency itself confirmed the strike.

The walkout officially began at midnight Thursday and it comes after six months of on-again, off-again talks fell apart. The impasse came after a marathon negotiating session that led the agency and its two largest unions closer to a contract deal.

The unions said they agreed with BART on economic, health care and pension issues, but that the parties still differed on work rule issues. They said they asked BART to take the remaining issues to arbitration but management refused.

BART maintained it needed to alter some of those rules to run the system efficiently and control costs.

A commute-crippling strike in July lasted for four days.

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