September 19, 2010

On Wishing Death to East Bay Public Transit

Today, I wish death, blight and pestilence on East Bay Public Transit.

BART fared me well when I boarded at 16th and Mission. I had a 2:45pm bus to catch in Walnut Creek, and had finally caught a train that would assuredly deliver me on time. The driver/intercom voice was peppy, and enthused that we would be going full speed through the Berkeley Hills tunnel.

At Orinda station, the time was 2:25 and I was blissfully reading when Mr. Intercom Voice announced that due to track repairs, we would hold at Lafayette station for 15 minutes. Snap--that's gonna make it tight, but we should still arrive at 2:40. Pulled out of the station at 2:40, and halfway to WC we came to a stop. Construction debris on the tracks. Mr. Intercom Voice gave us the color commentary as the train powered down to let workers onto the track to clear the shiz out of the way.

"The workers are right in front of me ... we should be up and running soon ... Sorry the AC is off, folks, but we had to power down so they can clear the debris ... It's about halfway cleared ..."

Question 1) Can't they do this track maintenance at night? You know, when no trains are running?
Question 2) You're doing track maintenance, which is a good and worthy thing (PG&E, take a bow), but you need a place to put, I don't know, brush that you've cleared, or extra concrete trench plates: why in the blue blistering blazes would you put that junk on the set of working train tracks?

I missed the bus. I grabbed my transfer, and walked into Walnut Creek to get some grub. I returned to the nearest bus stop at 3:40, sat down, and took out my book. After each paragraph I glanced up to look for the bus, and maybe the 15th or 16th time I did this, I looked up to see the bus drive past.

As Gob Bluth would say, "C'MON!"

I ran about a block, but without my bike I was neutered, powerless. The bus hit a green light and was gone.

Steaming, I walked to the next bus stop and sat down and read for another hour. This time I stood and was waiting for the bus so there would be no mistake. I boarded, and gave the driver my pass and my transfer card.

"Sorry, this is no good."


"Transfers are only good at the BART station."

"But I walked here from BART! Look at the time, 2 hours ago!"

"Well, you'll have to give them a call to tell them that."

What a ridiculous policy.

Days like these are why any sufficiently-salaried person in their right mind drives. Transit riders shouldn't have to put up with this garbage.

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