Commuter State

Dear J-

It’s the second week of annual ridership survey time, which means there’s the slightly unnerving feeling of having some person with a yellow lanyard ID and a clipboard take a look at you and check off some number on a list. They’re riding every train and after the results are crunched and analyzed, in another couple of months we’ll see how ridership has changed. My gut feel is that ridership has and will continue to grow; more jobs and office space keep popping up where I work (because, you know, anecdotal evidence is so typical of the whole) and the train seems to be crowdier in the afternoons than last year.

My earliest recollection of Caltrain dates back to approximately 1992 (maybe?) when the first Saturday train was around 8 AM and you had to make sure to be on the last train out Sunday — 5PM — unless you wanted to be stuck on one of the all-nighter buses. It’s hard to believe it’s the end of January already, though, and still nothing on hand for me; no December and no January commemoration through photos. We’ve shifted into some sort of busy boring schedule somehow, one where nothing gets done and everything is delayed. Our old (uncomfortable) ways seem to have returned.

Strike the harp and sing a chorus. Fa la la la la. La la. I wonder if what I read is true, and having San Mateo County as a pass-through for commuters between the City and Silicon Valley is driven by jobs and housing: jobs there, houses here. Plus there’s the whole idea of living in San Francisco, the neighborhoods and pulse of the city itself; I’m always (for no apparent reason) amazed that there’s so much going on at once but I shouldn’t be. I don’t know why I felt so insulated in San Diego but it seemed to be a reasonably inward-focused town compared with here, where the standard greeting is whatdidyado and whatsnew eh?

Mike

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