By Ingrid Becker

BART trains are running smoothly Friday after a fire in West Oakland shutdown service most of Thursday, inconveniencing thousands of commuters. (kalavinka/Flickr)
Never has the screech and beep of a BART train sounded so good as it did this morning. East Bay commuters heaved a collective sigh of relief as they boarded trains for San Francisco less than 24-hours after a fire at a senior center damaged tracks at the West Oakland station.

Transbay service was knocked out for much of Thursday, leaving commuters like John Worthly of Walnut Creek scrambling for alternatives.

“The commute yesterday was brutal,” he said as he dashed out of the Embarcadero station Friday morning on his way to the office. “I tried to drive into the city after a failed attempt on BART and, after 45 minutes of moving about three miles, I turned around and worked from home.”

East Bay service was restored Thursday afternoon after workers made emergency repairs and Worthly said Friday morning’s commute was a breeze.

“It was much better actually. There was virtually nobody on BART. I’m not sure if people thought the exact same thing was going happen but it’s nice. I actually got a seat today.”

Station operators at Fruitvale and West Oakland were also all smiles, saying they expected the evening commute to be equally smooth.

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