Monday, November 26, 2007

21st century transit: hopefully BART will catch on in the near future

I just returned from Belgium and Netherlands. Wonderful trip all around. And as always, whenever we're abroad, we make a point to try out the local transit systems.

The tram systems in Brussels, Brughe, and Amsterdam were so easy to use and came quite frequently. Both are equipped with electronic signs inside the trains that shows the route in progression (at least the next 3 stops) and clearly flashes the name at each stop. Some trams had flat screens showing news and ads. Some stops were equipped with interactive maps. All in all, the trains were clean, and with much fewer seats than BART, they were more optimal for extremely crowded conditions since there's ample room for standing passengers.

None of those 21st century perks are necessities, of course, but they're just nice to have to make getting around a bit easier for locals and visitors alike.

Do I want BART to upgrade the trains immediately? NO! There are plenty of other areas that need improvement so I can wait a decade (or two) before we catch on.

BTW, BART-SFO ridership definitely went up this year compared to last year!!! It's great-- it's really the easiest way. We love it. But, again, like I wrote in my previous entry, luggage space is a problem! This morning, a couple had no place to place their suitcases and ended up blocking the aisle, leaving literally 3 inches for people to squeeze through.

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