Major delays in BART's Transbay Tube disrupt service through the evening

BART trains stopped in the Transbay Tube Friday morning because of a power outage, causing headaches for 200 passengers aboard a stranded train and an untold number of commuters elsewhere in the system as they tried to get to work go to school and start their day in other ways.

A spokeswoman said power went out in the tube at about 7 a.m. between Embarcadero and West Oakland in the San Francisco and East Bay directions.

BART said the problem would stretch into Friday evening. At around 11 p.m. normal service was restored after power issues in the Transbay Tube were resolved. Delays of 30 minutes or more were likely, BART officials said at an afternoon conference. 

Would-be riders were encouraged to find alternate means of transportation. SF Bay Ferry was one of those options. AC Transit provided free transbay lines in the interim.   

The problems affected all portions of the network, not just trains heading through the tube. 

Riders told KTVU about the ordeal of their nightmare trips.

Commuter Masi Alily said he had to wait in the dark for two hours in the morning.

"There was no light; all dark. We used our cell phones. There was an oxygen deficiency. We kind of like didn't receive proper instruction on what to do. People were very afraid. I was afraid," he recalled.

In a statement to KTVU, the transportation agency said the train operator "went through the train car-by-car, speaking to passengers and making sure they were okay before it was moved."

MORE: BART system maintenance questioned as equipment and service problems persist

But Alily said BART didn't provide enough support.

"Myself, I tried several times to call 911 and BART police. For the last call, BART Police told me, ‘Hey, we are not the ones you should call,’ and was told go to the BART website," he said.

Even after power was restored, service was a mess with long delays because BART used a single track to move trains through the tunnel beneath the bay.

One KTVU viewer said her boyfriend was told he had to head back to West Oakland though he was trying to get to San Francisco. He sent in a photo of a dark train. 

Other passengers said they were using their cell phones to shine some light on the darkened trains underneath the San Francisco Bay in the tube.

Another man told KTVU that he missed his flight to Colorado because the train didn't ever get to the San Francisco International Airport. 

It is the second time in less than a week that equipment problems in the tube have disrupted service.

On Sunday, service was restored after about two hours. It's unclear what caused that problem as BART celebrated its 50th anniversary.