Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Caltrain frustration, part deux

This morning, the San Jose-bound train pulled into Redwood City, and I trotted up to board it. Looking up at the digital sign, I saw 7:28AM and slowed to a walk. Nevertheless, the door closed before I was all the way on the train! Fortunately, the conductor opened the door for me.

After getting fully onboard the train, I leaned my head out to re-check the sign. It still said 7:28! What the heck, closing the door two minutes before scheduled departure?

I sat down and the train started to move. Odd, I said to myself; I don't think it's quite 7:30. I yanked my (Verizon) cell phone out: 7:29. As we passed another digital sign at the station, I looked out again: 7:29. Leaving early, both according to the phone system time (which I tend to trust) and also according to your own clock!

So what's the story? If the schedule says 7:30 but the train pulls out at 7:29 (according to both your clock and mine), is this CalTrain policy (i.e., "we might leave a minute early")? Or "The head conductor can set his watch a minute 'fast' and run the train by that watch"? What does the schedule actually mean?

Or should the conductors be reminded to stay in the station until the schedule departure time?

Enquiring minds want to know!

1 comment:

Michael F. Martin said...

Caltrain operates for the convenience of Caltrain employees. After a H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E experience with Caltrain earlier this year, I switched to BART.

Neither are anywhere close to the level of excellence that I saw in the train service in Chicago, but BART at least has a little more polish.