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The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) strike launched July 1 by two unions continues for a second consecutive day, with no sign that BART and union leaders are close to resolving their differences over a new contract.The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union 1555 ceased bargaining and issued the strike after the most recent contract expired June 30. The unions are BART's largest labor organizations and represent about 2,300 workers.As tens of thousands of Bay Area commuters scrambled to make alternative travel plans, BART officials called on union leaders to end the strike and return to contract negotiations."The district has informed the mediators that we are hoping they can schedule talks very soon," said BART spokesman Rick Rice in a statement issued late yesterday afternoon. "We are prepared to negotiate the significantly improved proposal we delivered on Saturday."The two sides' differences focus primarily on wages, employee health and pension benefits, and safety issues.Meanwhile, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which manages transportation in the city including the Municipal Railway, announced it has implemented a contingency plan in response to the BART strike. SFMTA and other transportation officials directed Bay Area residents to a special BART strike web page, alert.511.org, for updated information.