Friday, December 05, 2008

Caltrain woes

Wednesday I put my train pass and my corporate badge into the other bag, and forgot to switch it back that night. So when I got on the train Thursday morning, I had an OOPS moment. I had a brief chat with the conductor: "I just realized that I forgot my monthly pass in the other bag."

"Oh, okay," she said. "You're going to stay in this car? We've already done our check in here." Whew -- she believed me.

When I got to Mountain View, I went ahead and bought a VTA ticket. The VTA fare inspectors only show up occasionally, and there's no chance they'd recognize me.

Well, I got to work and had to "tailgate" to get into the building; fortunately it was someone who recognized me.

Thursday evening, I was chatting with my buddy Jay about this, and he handed me his credit card receipt. "I just carry this in my bag all the time," he said. The amount -- $106 for a monthly two-zone caltrain pass -- is usually enough to convince the fare inspectors that you probably have a pass.

We got back to Mountain View, where I was going to transfer to Caltrain for the ride home. Guess what -- Caltrain had apparently lost signal capability earlier in the day, so they were giving out free rides. Whee!

And on Friday morning...

I arrived at the Menlo Park Caltrain station to see an announcement scrolling by on the electronic signs. There was an "incident" in San Mateo, and southbound trains would be delayed. They didn't say how long. I got in my car and turned on the radio as I started the drive to work. The incident involved a pedestrian on the tracks. Uh-oh.

So I had my pass today but didn't use it.

We have got to stop killing people with these trains. I think most of the time, people are taking a shortcut or are just impatient. I don't know what it was this morning....

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