3/11/2008

WHY I LOVE THE TRAIN

I'm not sure if I ever professed my love for riding the train. I know I mentioned it before. But it all started with the I-5 Construction Mess of August 2007. It turned out not to be so bad, but it was an opportunity to try alternate transportation (I was expecting my regular bus to have trouble navigating the construction area, trains are not affected by it).

But the construction ended, and I'm still riding the train. While it costs a bit more, it doesn't affect me, since my transit pass from work covers it. This extra cost also keeps the ridership to commuter-types. I have not had to share a seat with a drunk and/or potentially unstable person yet. It's kind of a relief. I haven't been bothered by any of my trainmates for change, which is nice. Also on a security note, there's multiple security personnel and the train conductor will walk through as well.

I don't have to wait for the train for the return trip. It's already there, waiting with its doors open. So nice to be able to sit and read in the comfort of a seat, as opposed to waiting outside in the weather.

Speaking of seat. It's a real seat, with real upholstery and an armrest and cupholder. And there are luggage racks. They also have seats with tables and electrical outlets, but you have to give up the armrest. Great if you have a laptop, which a lot of people do. And most cars have Wi-Fi, too.

On board bathrooms with running water. Spacious, too!

Heated in the Winter. Air-conditioned in the Summer. On my old bus, we didn't have A/C. And it was miserable sometimes. You'd totally stick to the vinyl seats. Ick!

As for on-time record, it's usually on time. It does arrive in town late on occasion, which isn't that big of a deal to me. But on the way home, I've rarely had a problem. The bus had let me down so many times. I remember huddling with my busmates, asking "Is it ever going to come?"

The train has become very popular, which brings me to the one downside - parking. At every stop, parking is a problem. The lack thereof, to be more specific. It's like they didn't expect the train to be so heavily used. At my stop, there's a free parking garage. But if you're not parked by a certain time (between 3rd and 4th trains), you will not have a spot. There are 5 morning trains. Many have resorted to parking illegally, as the garage is surrounded by 2-hour parking, or parking really far away. Also, the garage has set aside a slew of spaces for permit and tenant parking, the majority of which go unused - which is a huge thorn in the side of train riders. A couple of times, I missed the train because I was shut out of the garage and couldn't find another spot. I end up driving to work, which sort of defeats the purpose of trying to use public transportation. Everyone's waiting for a solution on this, and in the meantime, I've found a secret parking area near the station. And I'm not telling anyone!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention, I've also got some free stuff by riding the train. On occasion, there will be people waiting where we exit the station giving out stuff, like samples. So, far I've received samples of Special K Bliss Bars (Raspberry and Orange) and Red Baron Panini sandwiches (Bacon Ranch). It's a great surprise when you're thinking about breakfast, and there's people there handing you something to eat. As for non-food items, during the Seahawks playoff run, they gave out 12th-Man Pins, which were cool.

Oh, and I can read my book on the return trip. I can't do this on the bus as it gives me a headache. It must have something to do with the extra movement of the bus. But, I love it because I can get through books faster.

2 comments:

wyn said...

Blogger seems to have eaten my comment but I wholeheartedly agree with supporting a commuting method that is civilized. I'm not sure that I deserve to never get to sit on one of the buses I take every morning just because of where my route is. Our ferry sounds like your train: scheduled departures, not much of a reason - like traffic - for it to be late, and seat availability!

bdogg_mcgee said...

Wow, your trains sound divine! Our trains in Dallas are pretty good, but sometimes you can get some unsavory characters sitting next to you. I have to say that I miss riding the train now that I only work 5 miles from my current job, but I wholeheartedly support public transportation!