In Orinda, anger, frustration and a sudden influx of stranded BART riders caused what some are calling 90 minutes of madness.
Orinda business owners say Wednesday morning’s BART problems turned the usually quiet town into a mob scene.
Around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday BART commuters traveling west were ordered off the train at the Orinda station after a train operator was warned about smoke and a disabled train ahead.
“There were no announcements, nothing, just ‘leave the station, your tickets will work later don’t worry,'” said Darlene Calimlim of Clayton.
Commuters say they waited and waited, checked their phones and waited some more.
“It’s frustrating because I was supposed to be at school at 10, so just waiting and everyone here is waiting, so it’s upsetting,” said Freshta Ahmad of Vacaville.
Many of the frustrated flocked across Highway 24 to Orinda’s Theater Square.
“(They were) huddled in front of Starbucks across the street on the sidewalk all dressed in black, I thought we were going to have a flash mob,” said Orinda business owner Fiona Fellner.
It was no flash mob, but rather a 90-minute business boom.
But the hundreds of stranded commuters, who’ve already endured strikes, threats of strikes, slowdowns and interruptions this year, seemed to get angrier by the minute.
“I am very, very upset about all this because I was on my way to work, I am very upset, there is always something going on with BART,” said Sandra Little of Antioch.
Ironically, also stranded at Orinda on her way to work, was BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost.
“We have a very good on time performance rate, but when something goes wrong it’s not fun, especially when you have to be at work on time and we absolutely understand that,” said Trost.
As commuters finally boarded their trains, several were overheard muttering that they planned to find some other way to get to work.