Monday, August 14, 2006

2 hours and a half hours

That was the length of my new commute to work today. My car's dead, that much I've mentioned before. So, today was the first day of work for me without a car. That meant that I got to explore the rich wonderland known as public transportation.

Now, by and large, my experience was fine. It took a little longer than I wanted it to in order for me to get from San Mateo to San Fran. But, no biggie. I enjoyed not driving, I was able to finish my latest GameDeveloper article, and I just happen to love trains. So, all around - good.

Unfortunately, I read the schedule wrong for the Presidigo Shuttle, the free shuttle that will take me from BART (San Fran's subway system) to my office in the Presidio. Turns out I looked at the info in Insert A when I should have looked at Insert B on the Presidigo schedule info. Stupid me. What does it mean? It means I showed up a half an hour late for the last shuttle to the Presidio.

Frustratingly, absolutely no one anywhere downtown seemed to know anything about the Presidigo. It's some sort of weirdo ghost train that just shows up, drops off Presidio phantoms, and disappears. There are no signs for it. None of the transit system workers know anything about it. So, I didn't know I was late for a while. I stood around waiting, and waiting, and waiting for a ghost train that never arrived. It was awhile before I actually made the realization that the ghost train was not coming. So, I decided I'd start walking. I figured I'd walk until I found an ATM and then get a taxi to work.

Turns out I found the one freakin' street in San Francisco that doesn't have an ATM. I ended up walking about a mile before I found both a taxi stand and an ATM next to each other and finally made it to work.

My favorite part of the taxi ride was when the taxi driver got a call on his cellphone, turned around to me and held a finger up to his mouth as if to say "Shhhh ... don't let this person know you're here." Quoth the raven: Bweh?! Is this guy moonlighting as a taxi driver? Why would a taxi driver need to sound like he didn't have passengers? Part of me felt like I'd wandered into an 80s comedy movie where this guy was trying to fool his in-laws into thinking he was a nuclear brain surgeon diplomat when in reality he just drives a cab.

Well, buddy, you're secret's safe with me. Oh ... well, except that I just blogged about it. Guess it's not safe with me. Sorry, guy.

1 comment:

EmoRiot said...

Having just done the commute from your house to downtown I can say that you have some possibilities to help you out.

There are express trains which run in the mornings and evenings. They shave off about 20 minutes. But it sounds like you're changing to the bart at some point along the journey so that might not work since the express train may express right by your stop.

I don't want to be a shameless evangelical, but you could consider some form of bike commuting, too. You live 20 miles from work which isn't actually that far. It's about a 1 hour 15 minute bike ride, even accounting for hills. Of course, you shouldn't and couldn't just jump on a bike and start a 40 mile per day commute. But you could ease into it. Start by riding your bike to a nearby station (Hillsdale might not be the best because of the climb on the way home). Then take the train. After a week, try riding to a further station. Perhaps work your way up to bypassing the CalTrain by riding to the start of the BART network. In time, based on the times you work, you can take your bike on the train and bike from the BART to the Presidio.

After a while you'll have developed deeper lung capacity, a lower overall heart-rate, and a feel for riding some distance. You'll be ready to do the whole commute. Even then you can ease into it by riding into work and taking the train home all or most of the way.

After a while you'll have gone from a 400 dollar a month (gas and insurance) commute cost to 0 bucks. You'l have calves of steel. And chicks dig spandex... wait scratch that last one.

But what made me think of all this when I was doing this same commute last week was the time savings compared to the train. It took me 2 hours to get to my destination door to door so by biking I could save 45 minutes or more.

But I digress...

How is the car? What's the plan?