Monday morning transit frustrations

Sacramento Regional Transit 117 Siemons U2 1993 1
Creative Commons License photo credit: jacksnell

My commute involves cycling and light rail, and for the most part this is a really smooth setup for me (especially since I haven’t been asked to show my pass since Justin Bieber* was in diapers). So after riding hard to the light rail station on Friday afternoon, looking forward to the weekend, I took my usual spot toward where the rear of the last car would be, knowing that the front cars tend to fill up.

As the train approached, I could tell it was a 3-car and not the usual commuter-friendly 4-car train. As I hoofed it up the station to the end of the third car, only to board and find 2 cyclists already on board the back of the train, it occurred to me that it was Friday at 4:15, which should still count as peak hours. However, it was Friday, and we all know that a certain segment of riders are Furloughed on Fridays (or are they still? I have completely lost interest). Either way I feel sure that the length of RT’s trains is affected by Furlough Fridays, leaving the rest of us in the dark.

No, I am not actually complaining. It would be nice to have a sign announcing the number cars on an arriving train like BART has, but ridership is so low on RT that it is usually not a problem. Add this to my list of aspects of life in Sacramento — schools, public transit, development — that seem so configured to suit groups that I am not part of that I sometimes can’t help feeling like they are actually being set up to screw me. On the other hand, if I was a weekend commuter I would feel screwed with shorter trains on the weekend. It’s all about perspective, I suppose. And I feel entitled to have as little of that as possible.

Is it just me?

*I still have no clue who this is.

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Author: CoolDMZ

"X-ray vision to see in between / Where's my kimono and my time machine?"

2 thoughts on “Monday morning transit frustrations”

  1. Somebody at RT logistics must read my posts. This morning (Friday) I was picked up at 8 am by a 2 car train!

    But it was also late by like 3 minutes so I’m pretty sure there was some problem further down on the line.

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  2. Chicken or the egg question here. Does RT suck because it is underfunded or is it underfunded because it sucks?

    I think about this WAY too often. The necessities are there, you can use RT to get to *most* Dr. appointments, most schools, and most major employment areas. However, the people who need those routes, the disabled, students, and government employees, all get deeply discounted passes. I don’t know how their funding works, but my guess would be that the individual ticket buyers rates are so high becuase those services are not paid for by the current structure. Can’t say I have the solution to that, but raising ticket prices sure isn’t it.

    Imagine you are not an RT commuter, you are someone who can walk or bike or carpool to work, but you are not a vehicle owner so you need public transit for other activities. You are easily spending the most out of your own pocket for the service you get, yet you get shafted the most on ease of use. So you minimize or eliminate your use of it. They make less money, they decrease the frequency or existance of lines. We’re going nowhere but down here.

    This weekend switch to every 30 min instead of every 15 is in theory a money saver, but how many people are going to find another way to do that trip now? The initial cost savings may prove true, but it is another step in the wrong direction for the idea of RT. Public transit is simply not well regarded or supported in the collective mind of Sacramento. I don’t know that RT will survive. I’m not sure it should.

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