Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Technology matching 2008

Most of you probably have seen this new 21st century technology already but I generally get off at Civic Center station so I didn't see this until last Saturday while taking BART to a Giants game and getting off at Embarcadero to take Muni down to the ball park.

I'm talking about a flat screen right on top one of the ticket booths inside the Embarcadero station that actually tells you when the next trains (real-time, tracking delays) are coming BEFORE you insert your ticket and get stuck waiting at the platform. While I walked by, the screen showed, "Daly City Train 3 minutes Pittsburg/Baypoint train 13 minutes". Wow, finally!

I've been hoping for something like this OUTSIDE of stations so we know when we have a few extra minutes to grab a copy of newspaper, or finish up a coffee before we walk through the ticket turnstiles. When trains are delayed, it's a huge convenience to find out before you insert your ticket and commit yourself to waiting on the platforms where it's windy, loud and freezing (at least where I am in the morning). For those stations with parking structures, it would be even better if they can install these flat screens as you enter the lot.

It's easy to dismiss these benefits as unnecessary but they make things easier and more convenient for passengers so why not?

I don't know how long this flat screen in the Embarcadero station has been up...perhaps awhile but it's a good start. I hope to see more of these all around the BART stops.


Anonymous said...

I don't know how tethered you are to your computer -- or how far your computer is from BART -- but that realtime arrival info by station is available at bart.gov. I have (relatively) short walks to the station from home and work, so it's fantastically convenient to pull up their site and verify everything's running on time before leaving.

bartmusings said...

My trip isn't long but plenty of people have trips that add up to 30 minutes at least. It's just a nice to have (a screen outside of the stations). Why is it so inconceivable? Stations all over Europe, Asia all have it...why can't SF Bay Area, the technology capitol, have it too?

Anonymous said...

I use the BART mobile for "estimated" arrivals and it works quite well. In fact, it'll even have trains that aren't on the scrolling marquee. The ONLY downfall to that is, I wish it would tell me how many cars the train has.

Anonymous said...

Heck yeah! Maybe that will reduce the number of people eating in the system, if they know they have a couple extra minutes to finish before entering.

Anonymous said...

For the US BART is "high tech" public transport, but compared to Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, ETC.... it is ancient.