Short Hop

Dear J-

It’s at the point where I’ll see someone’s destination and judge them for it: Burlingame-Hillsdale is a half-hour ride, sure, and much shorter on the train but if you have the time, why not try riding? There was one who got on at Sunnyvale, too, and I asked them if they would like a bike tag but they confessed they were only going as far as Mountain View and I … really? That’s one of my usual rides; it’s fast and fun and doesn’t take much time at all. Yet secrets abound and do not fail to be mysterious; it’s all part of what I said before about judging people: you’re assuming a lot about their lives and that isn’t always kosher.

You get to know a lot of these folks by sight if not by name; their habits become a regular touchstone and habit of note and if their commutes telescope within yours, you know the stations they frequent. Your habits are known on public transit, so have some care with how you act. I read a quote the other day that I’ll probably mangle here but it went something like how you measure the wealth of a country in how willing its people are to riding public transit. Hands down here it’s better than San Diego but by no means perfect: I realize that operators have to sleep and systems need to be cleaned, so all the heavy-rail shuts down for the night and so sometimes the schedules could be better getting from here to there.

On the whole, though, if you’re only having to wait half an hour or less for the most part, you’re doing well, and the presence of short-ride passengers bodes well for the system: it’s that much more convenient and timely over even walking and bicycling that folks are willing to use the system. This and the influx of folks into what they term transit-oriented housing (this, a fancy term to indicate folks willing to live next to the tracks, which is still curious in my mind but that’s my old-fashioned sensibilities talking) means only one thing: Success!

Mike

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