Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hey BART Newbies! Learn these rules of etiquette on BART

Daily BART commuters understand and abide by some unsaid rules on BART. It is very easy for us to spot who the newbies are. Now, don't be offended, take this lightly, you'll learn!

The past couple of days have really tested our patience, not just because of the crowds and lack of parking but also because of the disruption in etiquette and routine. There are many rules on BART but here are the top five than you must follow immediately to avoid dirty looks, curses or much worse:

1) Please keep to the RIGHT on the escalator if you choose to stand instead of walk up or down. If you feel like getting some exercise, or are in a rush, then take the left side on the escalator!

2) Whether on the right or left side of the escalator, NEVER come to a sudden halt just because you are near the end of the ride. When you suddenly put on the brakes, people in back of you will run into you, causing a domino effect. Keep walking when the escalator ends and continue walking on the floor.

3) AlWAYS have your BART ticket handy BEFORE you arrive in front of the ticket gates. Do not hold the lines but digging for your ticket in your purse, computer bag, wallet, pocket..etc.

4) Do not block the train doors when people need to enter the train. Step slightly outside of the train if you have to and let people in! The train will not leave without you. Not that close.

5) There's no need to make your way to the train door 2 minutes before your station, especially not in a crowded train. Your pushing and shoving prior to arrival make everyone around you extremely uncomfortable. There are others that will exit with you-- you will be able to get out!

I just read that the Bay Bridge will reopen by commute hours tomorrow am so newbies probably won't need to use these for awhile. Keep these handy just in case the bridge closes again (hopefully a scheduled closure, not a sudden breakdown!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BART over-crowded due to Bay Bridge shut down-- my nightmare commute today

Where do I even begin? First, the parking situation! Everyone probably purchased a one day reserved parking pass and there were no spaces left by the time I got there! Good thing I set aside some extra time to circle the vicinity and found 3/4 of a space that I managed to squeeze into. My doors have little dents already so what's one more?? Then, the dangerously crowded platform. It was chaotic. Lines were forming from all directions.

By the time the train arrived, it was already max capacity. In the specific car I was lined up in front of, all 12-15 of us managed to squeeze on. Keep in mind that Orinda is usually not that crowded! I was practically hugging the woman in front of me-- thank goodness she was clean and pleasant, and even told me that if I needed to, I can grab on to her arms or her gym bag.

Every station was packed. The train got to be ridiculously over capacity but passengers kept on rolling in. To make things worse, it was stop and go the whole way. At the 30 minute mark (typically I'd arrive at CC station in 30 minutes), we were only at 19th Street.

Infrequent BART riders got up at 19th Street Station thinking that was Embarcadero, which caused more chaos with all the unnecessary pushing and shoving.

At West Oakland, those waiting on the platform could not get on and screamed inside the train for people to clear the path for them somehow. They managed to squeeze on and sat on the ground before there was more room by the legs than up top.

Once I finally got to CC Station, I lined up for my company shuttle. One arrived and it got to max capacity before half of us got on. I had to wait for the next.

It took me about 1.5 hours to get to work today.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bay Bridge closed indefinitely..again

BART riders beware-- go the BART stations early, claim your parking space early, pack light, be ready to stand and be pushed...because it is going to a crazy commute with the Bay Bridge closed after repaired cables crashed and struck three cars! Just now (9:30pm PT) KRON4 news reports that the closure is anticipated to be 24 hours. BART and ferries are prepared to accommodate extra riders but we know it's still going to be a mad house.

This is going to be nuts! I wish I can work from home tomorrow.

Why I will get the swine flu vaccine

I've never gotten a flu vaccine in my life-- I've always been able to fight off colds and flus within a reasonable amount of time. I'm not someone who is overly wrapped up in the swine flue pandemic scare but I will likely get the swine flu vaccine because I am a daily BART commuter; I have little control of the close contact that I have with strangers; I know nothing of their whereabouts; and most importantly, if I contract the virus, I do NOT want to give it to my 1 year old knowing the deathly impact it has on kids.

A friend of mine who works in the One Market building said someone in his office has the swine flu. How many people who work at One Market take BART?? I'd imagine a very high percentage!! We'll all be exposed to the virus at some point and I'd much rather be protected, if not for myself, for my little one.

I'm not about to wear masks any time soon but am certainly more aware of passengers with bad coughs and drippy noses around me. It is alarming although most people still do not take it seriously.

Do you care much about the swine flu?

Another great use of funding by BART management.

Awarding an "energy efficiency" contract to a company run by former Black Muslim Bakery associate. Is there really no other company in the Bay Rea that offers more experience and credibility in energy to upgrade BART's energy system? Especially when the "company" has already been tied to questionable projects under public scrutiny


Monday, October 19, 2009

This is why you shouldn't drink coffee on BART

It's been weeks since I've been able to write anything. (SORRY!) First, work got a bit crazy and then, I was out of town for business. After that, I went on a long overdue vacation and finally came back to work today.

With the rain, BART was miserable. The seats and floors were wet and sticky. The stations had puddles everywhere with rain pouring down the stairs. Then you have passengers who knowingly shook their umbrella dry inside a packed train or unknowingly placed their wet umbrella right on your bag. It was an awful ride home.

On top of it all, the train smelled like old sour coffee because some passenger spilled coffee everywhere. Imagine if this is one of the carpeted old trains-- the stain would be permanent. At least this spill can be mopped up.

Can't say I missed BART while I was gone but it is better than being stuck in traffic on a stormy day.