Tales from the San Francisco BART
Last week I flew into San Francisco Airport on business, and of course I had to try the BART.
Directional signs inside the airport to the BART were generally good. And the ticket machines were easy to use. And note to the CTA: They accept credit and debit cards! You can select exactly how much to put on your ticket. But a ticket downtown is kinda pricey at $5.15 to Montgomery station. So we're spoiled in that respect.
But there might be another note to CTA brass: Set fares by zones the way Metra does. You insert the ticket to both enter and exit the turnstiles.
The BART system is barely 35 years having opened on Sept. 11, 1972. The stations are large, bright and clean.
In the continuation are my observations and report on things seen and heard on the BART. It might as well have been a CTA train in that respect.
Left the airport at 11:12 am. Quite a few people boarded at the airport. Very little to no signage on the train about the system. I noticed just one system map on the train car that is larger than a CTA car.
And I felt at home right away as I noticed two women groping and kissing each other.
Then an Asian woman boards, carrying a chihuahua dog on the train inside a jacket.
A student graduating from a Bay area college herds her mom, dad and brother on the train. She proceeds to call her employer and lie about her parents arriving late to the airport so she could call off work. It was 11 am and she said their incoming flight was arriving at 1 pm. Not sure I've ever lied to someone with my parents sitting next to me. Then she brought out a notebook and announced she had to finish writing a paper.
The train has a real human -- the motorman -- making announcements.
No slow zones here. We travel at about 35 mph between most stations.
There are no bad human or canned announcements about proscribed or prohibited behaviors.
There are two clutch bars on the ceiling running the entire length of the car. But you have to be at least 5 foot-10 inches to reach the bars.
There are ceiling cameras on each car -- two at each door. Although they may not all be operable because a sign warns: "Your picture MAY be recorded on this train.
I mentioned there are very few canned announcements. That's nice, but there are not enough announcements of upcoming stops for us out-of-towners.
We arrive downtown at 11:41. Nice, smooth half-hour trip.