Tips for public transit

I was spaced out after a long day of work last night, sitting on the train and staring out the window. A vague click of “that’s strange” popped in my mind as we passed an Amtrak Capitol Corridor stopped on the tracks south of Santa Clara. I woke up a little when I saw the guy hosing the tracks down and thought “that’s strange,” and finally realized what must have happened when I saw guys in police jackets walking across the tracks. There was, unfortunately, a fatality when the Amtrak Capitol Corridor struck a guy walking on the tracks near the College Park train station.

Text message Caltrain delays

My southbound train wasn’t delayed much, but Amtrak had to set up a bus bridge from San Jose to Great America, and northbound Caltrain was delayed up to an hour. I Twittered the delay, but I don’t know how many train riders follow my Twitter feed. Afterwards, I discovered the Caltrain information Twitter, through which multiple train riders can post information about Caltrain delays. Thank you to 295 Bus Blog for this good tip. This is not a Caltrain service, but one provided by cooperating train riding volunteers.

Transit schedules on your phone / PDA

Noah keeps photos of transit schedules in his mobile phone for easy access when he needs to catch the bus. A thought I had: grab a text version of bus and train schedules you’re interested in and message them to your phone. I have a current Caltrain schedule pasted to the back of my office door for quick access.

Caltrain multiple bike cars

If your eyes are sharp, you can see if a Caltrain consist is equipped with a second bike car, especially on the old “Gallery” car trains. All bike cars are also cab cars, which is the car in the lead when the locomotive pushes the train. The cab cars (and bike cars) have rear view mirrors at the end of the car, and the front window of cab cars are also much shorter than normal. Look for the mirror sticking out from the side of the train and you’ve found the second bike car.

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