Thursday, May 21, 2009

Driving too much the past couple of days

I've had to drive the past couple of days for meetings and personal reasons. I really wish there was an easier way to go from Orinda to San Jose because 60 miles each way, 120 miles per day, can really make you age fast.

Some have suggested to me BARTing to Dublin/Pleasanton station and then take the ACE train from there. But a 2 hour trip each way just isn't possible for me! I have too many responsibilities at work and at home. During my drive home yesterday, I almost fell asleep as I was going 15 mph around the Sunol Grade. On my San Jose meeting days, I can spend up to 4 hours each day just in my car. I have to go to San Jose once a week and I really wish there is an easier option than driving. Maybe the toll lanes they are creating will help?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Already sensing effects of summer exodus

As schools start to break for summer, I'm looking forward to emptier lots and trains. Cal is out now and soon all schools will be. The freeways will move faster, coffee shops emptier in the mornings, everything will just seem smoother and less congested.

It sure will make the commute a lot easier for the rest of us!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Do you have your ticket handy before you reach the gates?

I think most of us who are daily commuters, know to have our ticket handy before we reach the ticketing gate, in order to keep the line moving at an efficient pace. I know I'm not the only one who gets annoyed when someone breaks that progression by fumbling through their purse or brief case, takes out the ticket, don't know which way the ticket should be entered, and can't find where the ticket pops back out. Or, even worse, can't figure out why the ticket keeps getting rejected. This person keeps standing in front of the line, re-entering the ticket again and again...finally, turns around and is greeted by many angry faces.

It's unfair to expect non-commuters to know the unspoken etiquette during peak hours. I don't generally react negatively when someone in front of me takes more than 5 seconds to get through, although sometimes I can't help but tell them what they're doing wrong..nicely of course.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

10 minute door jam delay today because of someone prying open the doors

I was already impatiently waiting to get home when someone decided to throw his arms in to stop the closing door and pulled it open so he can come in.

The T.O. tried to close and open the doors again and again but this door was not cooperating. So, we wait.

It took 10 minutes for the door to function properly again. Meanwhile, this guy is asleep with his legs up on an empty seat.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Seats are empty for a reason

On a crowded train this evening with standing passengers at every corner, I see 2 empty seats in the back. Whenever this happens, you know that it's empty for a good reason.

I took a standing position where I can actually see the seats and saw a bunch of newspaper pages stacked up, an empty bowl of cup-o-noodle with drips of soup leaking onto the paper, a couple empty Twinkie wrappers and a black plastic bag with gum stuck on it. Throughout the entire ride, people approached the seats, noticed what was on there, made a face and remained standing. No one wanted to remove the trash (including yours truly), cleared the seat to sit down. Well, that is until one old couple needed to sit down and actually made the effort to fold up the newspaper and placed all the trash into the black bag.

I guess it just takes one person to clean up the mess. I wouldn't do it, especially not with the wet cup-o-noodle bowl. I'd rather stand than pick-up garbage from an unknown source. Apparently, at least 30 other passengers felt the same way and remained standing. It's my loss, maybe, but I'll take it standing.

Friday, May 08, 2009

$3.4 Billion Redesign Project! - WOW!

This is fantastic! Nice to know that by 2018, there will be 700 brand new BART trains! These designs are great! Any of them beat what we have available now.

And furthermore, BART is evaluating pay fares by cellphones!

Great news on a Friday morning! Welcome to the new century, BART.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The innocence of a first time BART rider

This is a very cute story, actually. Seeing this little boy made my ride home very pleasant. A little boy, maybe 4 or so, accompanied by his mom, was riding BART for the first time.

He walked in, full of energy and completely ecstatic, and yelled, "Wow, the train is so big!"

He happily skipped down the aisle and hopped onto an empty seat. He told him mom, "Look, I get to sit by the window!"

Throughout the ride, he pressed his hands against the window, brushed them up and down around the frame. He pointed at trees, houses, cars, people...he had a huge smile the entire time!

He then stretched his neck to look down both sides of the train, as far as he could, and then smiled again.

He happily swung his legs back and forth as he became mesmerized by the "view" from his window seat.

It's so innocent and adorable. He saw everything from a fresh, positive perspective. The same seat that most of think think is dirty, the same window that I think needs a deep cleaning and would never touch, and the same view that I find depressing. We all need to be reminded of the happy innocence we all once had.

Monday, May 04, 2009

BART ride with no entertainment

I always come ready with magazines or books, or come equipped with my iPhone to help keep myself preoccupied and entertained during the BART ride. This morning, not only did I forget to stuff in a magazine into my bag, my iPhone completely died after I reached Rockridge. It just would not turn on, despite maximum battery life. It's still dead as I'm typing this email.

I've become completely dependent on my iPhone to help me pass time while on the train. I do my work emails, I tweet, I read news, I update my status, I look at videoclips, I listen to music....I heavily depend on my iPhone to help me overlook all the little things that used to bug me on BART. Without it today, I was like an addict without access to source of addiction. The ride could NOT be any slower, I was feeling anxious about what was going on at work, I felt out of the loop with what's going on in the world, and I had NO outlet to vent/share my frustrations and observations!!!

In my ride home later, I'm going to have to bring along a couple trade magazines to keep myself preoccupied. Without my iPhone, I feel incomplete, as silly as that sounds.

I better get a replacement phone soon or get it fixed!!!

Friday, May 01, 2009

First mask wearer found!

I actually saw someone wearing a mask on the way to work today. Like I said, it is very common in Asia, and with the swine flu outbreak not losing any momentum, I expect to see more mask wearers on BART in the Bay Area. Apparently there are different grades of masks, and not all protect the wearer from bacteria and viruses. My parents, being the big worriers that they are, sent me a case of N95 masks. Check the CDC website for a list of certified swine flu protection masks.

Am I going to wear a mask on BART? Probably not!! But I will place one in my bag just in case I encounter someone who has all the symptoms. Meanwhile, I will continue to use drench my hands and arms in Purell after each ride.