Thursday, October 02, 2014

BART Survival Tips during Conference Season

This is conference season, if you haven't noticed already.  Yes, those people wearing colorful badges around their necks, wandering on Market Street.  They are here, getting in our way, because of Oracle OpenWorld and very soon, Dreamforce.  I still remember how horribly crowded BART was last year during Dreamforce and watching normal people turning into savages, as they pushed their way onto the overcapacity trains.

Since I've witnessed this mass migration to Moscone Center every fall, I thought I'd share some pointers on how you can survive BART and get to your destination during this insane conference season.

#1 Don't get on the train at Powell, Montgomery or Embarcadero.  If you can, walk backwards to Civic Center, if you want to get on a train.

#2 If you are carrying a big backpack, put it on the ground.  If you leave it on, you are taking up extra space.  Trust me, when it gets crowded, people will unleash their rage and push you down.  I saw it happen last year.

#3 Even if there is no room on the train, walk as far in as possible.  Those who stand near the doors will be shoved and pushed in as people from Montgomery and Embarcadero attempt to get on the trains.

#4 Chew strong flavored gum.  People around you will be grateful, but you're also masking unwanted scents around you.  It works.  I depend on my extra strong Ice Breakers during a crowded ride home.

#5 People will push when trains get that crowded.  Stand with you feet apart to brace yourself.

#6 Get used to being touched.  You'll be intimately close with the passengers around you.  Wear a coat if it's not too hot to protect yourself just a little bit.  

#7 Don't be an idiot.  Put away, no, actually HIDE your conference chotchkies.  You're asking to be a target. 

#8 If you're riding with a buddy who was also at the conference, please just be quiet.  The rest of us don't want to hear which sessions you attended and who you got to meet.  When there isn't enough air for everyone to breath inside the train, don't take up extra by talking, please.

#9 It still makes a difference walking to the very first or very last train. Might still be crowded but at least your chances getting on are a bit higher in those two.

#10 I've not tried this one yet but this year I just might if the conditions are as bad as last year's.  If you can afford to, offer someone who has a seat $20 (or whatever amount) to let you sit down.  WHY NOT??  At least you'll have a bit of personal space (although on a very dirty chair).  

Oh, and a message to Marc Benioff.  BART is always more crowded during Dreamforce than Oracle OpenWorld-- you definitely win the attendance rivalry.  BART commuters FEEL it...literally.

If the Giants can advance to NLCS, the trains will be un-humanly crowded, but I won't complain about that!  Let's Go Giants!  #ORANGEOCTOBER