Monday October 2, 2006

The Wrong Day to Take the Train

This was one of those days that makes you wonder why you thought commuting by public transit was a good idea. Rich had an afternoon meeting in the South Bay, so he drove me to the station where I caught the 8:17 train.

Unfortunately, a northbound train apparently hit a car, "abandoned on the tracks" near California Ave in Palo Alto, right around the time I was boarding my train. So my southbound train started off normally, then slowed down, then stopped in Menlo Park with a train ahead and a train behind. And we sat there.

Our conductor was apologetic. Apparently all he knew was that there was "police action" at California Ave and they were turning back the other northbound trains. They had no other information. They had no idea if or when we would be allowed to continue.

A woman on my train called, the "Commuter fairy" at The Company and asked her to send one of the shuttles for us. The shuttle dispatcher, however, didn't actually send the shuttle when she called for it. So we all stood around in Menlo Park for an extra 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, unbeknowst to us, there were Company people on the train behind ours, which was stuck at the next station to the north. Those people called the shuttle dispatch number directly. They were (according to a woman I spoke to later) told that a shuttle was going to Menlo Park, and that no, it could not go on to pick them up as well. They were told to walk to Menlo Park! (That's a little under one and a half miles according to maps.yahoo.com. Not bad for a Saturday walk but not fun with a backpack, a laptop, and dressed for work.).

When the shuttle finallly arrived where I was, the driver spoke very little English. He kept repeating the name of the next station up the line. Of course, none of us knew that those people had called, but we did know they weren't with us. We also figured they weren't going to show up any time soon. It never dawned on us that anyone would be trying to walk. Besides all that, we were all tired of waiting, and we filled the shuttle with just those of us stranded in Menlo Park.

So, finally, the shuttle drove us all south to the Company and we all got to work an hour or so late. I learned later that train service finally returned to normal by 11am.

. Some days it just doesn't pay to take transit.

The Wrong Day to Take the Train ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Mon, 02 Oct, 19:31 Pacific | «e»