Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Raise your hand if you hate BART?

With fewer cars in prime commute hour BART trains, I definitely am feeling the impact.  As if BART wasn't crowded enough before the mysterious train car issues forcing them to take trains out of service, it is even worse now.

I thought after riding BART for nearly 15 years, I've seen it all.  Well, I've experienced a few not so lovely firsts today.  More to add to my reasons for hating BART.

I've never had 3 homeless in one train car before.  Apparently fewer cars also mean fewer places for them to sleep.  In my train this morning, one was sleeping on the seat, one on the ground, and one against the door.  We all know what that means in a very crowded train.  You simply can't escape the smell and there really is no room to hide from it.  You just brave the smell.  Deal with it.

I've also never seen anyone smoke on BART until today.  One passenger was smoking on the West Oakland platform and carried the cigarette in.  Plenty of passengers including myself told him to throw it out.  He waited until the moment the door closed to toss out his cigarette but then blew the smoke in our faces as the door shut.  I still can smell that smoke...mentally.  It was unbearable in an already inhumanely crowded train that stunk.

Yesterday, I heard from a coworker that someone vomited on the train.  I felt so bad for her.  That is just about the worst thing that can happen (with the exception of a train accident).  I hope she isn't sick today from being exposed to the virus and/or bacteria.

So back to my question in the title of this post.  Raise your hand if you hate BART!

Both my hands are raised.  I hate it.  I wish we had better options to get from 925 area code to SF.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

5 Types of 'Creeps' on BART

I'm a social person but I don't make an effort to socialize with fellow passengers on BART, and I think people prefer it that way.  In the mornings, we're all waking up and just trying to get to work on time.  Who really wants someone striking a random conversation?  And in the evenings, we just want to get home and are likely exhausted from a long day.  Last thing I want is for someone to chat with me about where I live and what I do for work in front of everyone!  Now there are times when conversations are ok and that's usually when we ALL have something in common-- like grunting about a medical emergency or laughing about a train operator's attempt to entertain the masses.

I encountered a creep today who was trying to either strike a conversation or trying to be physically closer to me.  Either way, it's creepy, uncomfortable and just weird.  This inspired me to write today's post -- 5 types of creeps on BART!  Tell me if you've encountered any of these guys!

1) People who stare at your phone screen and think it is OK to talk to you about the subject on your screen!!  This also applies to people who volunteer their opinions on a book you're reading.

2) People who can hold the bar at any other position on the safety bar but INSISTS on holding it right next to your hand and have the hands touch!  Seriously? Move an inch over at least!!  Gross!

3) People who make eye contact with you from afar and won't look away.  And every time you try to discretely check with a side eye glance, he or she is looking...I mean, STARING!  

4) People who think just because you are standing uncomfortably close to each other, it means you MUST TALK.  No, we don't!  Please don't ask me where I live, what I do, and where I park at the BART station.  I don't care to share anything with you.  I just want to read my emails or close my eyes.

5) People who have the choice to stand elsewhere but they insist on SQUEEZING into the highly sought after window standing box in cars where there is a train operator's seat.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  There usually is a standing space for ONE inside the window box right across from the train operator's door.  I don't understand why some people insist on squeezing their way into the space when they can stand right outside of it.  It's not meant for 2 adult standing passengers who are strangers.

There are probably more types of creeps on BART but these 5 irk me most!  Don't be a creep!  Just mind your own business and look at your own phone.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Did you feel like fainting today too?

If you took BART into the city today, you knew how horribly delayed the trains were!  I just read that there were apparently 3 fires this morning on the tracks, although I have no idea why stormy weather would cause that.

Additionally, BART was dealing with medical emergencies too!  Not surprised.  The longer we are all stuck on the train, the more likely people are going to faint, because as we all know, temperature is either too hot or too cold.  It is never just right, and never adjusted.  I was on a train this morning that felt like a sauna, especially with all the wetness on the ground from dripping umbrellas and raincoats.  The train windows were completely fogged up, some so moist that they were dripping!  We were packed like sardines, swaying right to left, as the train jerked to sudden stops (would it hurt to make  more gradual stops so people aren't falling?)  I looked around to see who might be the first to lose consciousness.  We had to hold for 5 additional minutes due to a medical emergency in a train ahead. The ride was miserable!!

Then I read this:

Only 3?  There were probably others that didn't require the medical crew or didn't make it on the news!  If I fainted briefly, I wouldn't ask the med crew to come-- I'd exit the train, drink some water, catch my breath and re-enter a train when I feel better.  Why stop the train by 5-10 minutes just because you briefly lost consciousness?  It's caused by the crazy heat and lack of oxygen!  If you feel woozy, then step out to get some air!

Hope the ride home is smoother for everyone today!!!  Don't faint!

Thursday, January 07, 2016

What are the chances BART will be delayed?? Here's my take!

If you're a daily commuter, you'd know these causes for delays quite well.  Would you agree with my take on how often these delays happen?

Assuming we commute 5 days a week using BART:

2 out of 5 days we would run into delays caused by some type of 'medical emergency' (typically someone fainting due to lack of air and anxiety caused by overcrowding)

1 out of 5 days we would run into 'police activities' at a station

1 out of 7 days we would run into 'track problems'

If it's raining, then you'll run into 'track problems' 4 out of 5 days!  Am I not right!?

New year and new commitment to revive BARTMusings

One of many resolutions I have is to revive BARTMusings.  Plenty of thoughts go through my head during rides that can make a blog post but Internet access while on BART is so sketchy that I can barely get on a website, and by the time I get to work, my BART experience becomes a distant memory as I'm shuffling myself from meetings to meetings.

Hopefully this post will keep me accountable because I still have PLENTY to say about BART.  

Happy 2016 everyone!  I wish you a year with better commutes and if not, you can always complain here!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Well, that is a first!

Wow, has it been 3 months since my last post?  Where did the time go?

Well, today I did something I've not done in 13+ years of riding BART. I actually fell on another passenger, and not just any passenger, a sleeping passenger!  An older man who was deep asleep.

I was multi-tasking, with both hands on my phone, ferociously typing away an urgent work email.  The train suddenly stopped and I couldn't hold myself upright.  I fell left and knew I was going to land on this man's body, and already imagined what he would say when he wakes up to the impact.

All I could do is give my biggest smile after I said OH SHIT!  He woke up, saw my smile and luckily, smiled back and said, it's OK.  The surrounding passengers got a good laugh as I gathered myself to upright position.

In this case, really glad I'm female, not too heavy, and appeared to be a clean person.  He took the impact pretty well.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

(Updated) Station Agent Ed from Orinda -- A man who's transforming BART's image

If you board at the Orinda Station, I'm sure you know who I am talking about!  His name is Ed, he's a station agent, and he goes above and beyond to help passengers.  You can count on him to get out of the windowed box and say hi, good night, or have a good day, when you pass the turnstiles.  He smiles, he waves and his actions are making a difference, at least for me.

If you've been reading BARTMusings, you'll know that 90% of my posts are focused around negative encounters, with the other 10% being funny or straight-up ridiculous passenger observations.  Well, this one is positive and I want to express my thanks to Ed for caring more than any station agent I've seen in the last 16 years.

My husband and I both take BART, he takes it daily, while I only go into SF 2-3 times a week.  Ed's greetings, no matter how much we dread the ride into SF, make us smile back.  

It is so shocking (and perhaps it shouldn't be) that a station agent voluntarily comes out of the window to interact with passengers.  In the past, I've had to say 'excuse me' at least twice for a station agent to acknowledge me.  Other times, they don't talk back at all to me, nor make any eye contact, and act like I've interrupted them as they let my ticket through.

But Ed, he talks, he smiles, he walks around, he waves, and you know what? He cares!

He told me that he voluntarily comes to the station an hour before his shift starts to prepare for the day and to make sure everything is in order!  And he knows he won't get paid for that time.  Wow...especially after the BART strikes, this genuine action of care from an agent is unfathomable! 

Last week, I took my 6 year old to work with me (since school was out) and Ed introduced himself and showed nothing but enthusiasm and friendliness.  It was my son's 2nd BART experience (not counting the times he was an infant and can't remember) and it was a much more pleasant one starting with Ed's actions.  I've warned him plenty of times about BART-- to not touch anything, to not stare, to get out of people's way, to stand on the right side of the escalator, to not step in yellow puddles, to not talk to drunk homeless people at Montgomery, and all types of rules and warnings.  But all he really needed to think of BART more favorably was a friendly face.

Ed, THANK YOU!  I don't know if this will get you in trouble, hopefully not, but if not, I'd also love to add a photo of you!  I'll ask you in-person tomorrow :)

BART management--- Do you know Ed?  If not, you should!  He's become a very popular face in the Orinda BART station and he alone is changing the damage many other BART employees have caused through the years on the organization's public image!

Do you know another great BART employee??  I'd love to know if there's someone else like Ed out there.  

UPDATE (12/4) I handed a copy of the post to Ed today.  He was so happy and a little emotional.  He was denied a promotion today by BART.  He said this post was exactly what he needed.  Photo of him holding the post proudly.  Keep up the great work, Ed!  BART management-- I hope you'll reconsider his promotion.

Monday, November 17, 2014

BYOS? Bring Your Own Seat on it allowed?

This isn't the first time I've seen it on BART.  It's not a bad idea and there are actually quite a few styles of portable seat options out there.  Would you ever use one?  Would it ever become popular on BART?  People stared at this man, but why? He's comfortable, he's not taking a ton of space, at least no more than a person with a large backpack.  I can't imagine this being the norm on BART but why not?  And what IS the norm on BART anyways??

Your thoughts?