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Day 4: Get on that bus without whining

By rmyers
Friday, December 15th, 2006 at 9:28 am in Randy Myers.

Randy Myers' lunch, BART card and wallet

There are a few essentialsyou must have before getting to work by bus. Those include a reliable watch (or a cellphone that tells accurate time), a thick wad of dollar bills and an air-tight travel plan hashed out well in advance.

With a handful of change (I failed at grasping the “bill” part) and an itinerary cooked up with half-closed eyes at 6 this morning on the 511 travel website http://transit.511.org/tripplanner/index.asp I came up with a rather effortless commute.

I hopped on an AC Transit bus that deposited me at the Rockridge BART station (with all this newness I exited one stop too early), took BART and then hooked up with a County Connection bus at the Pleasant Hill BART station. That bus delivered me nearly at the doorsteps of the Times Central office.

If you’re like me and consider yourself an idiot when it comes to the bus system, try out the 511 Travel planner site. It certainly saved me from winding up in Alameda. Now that’s not a bad city to be in, but when your boss is expecting, you better hustle.

A young woman I met at the Pleasant Hill BART station swears by the 511 travel planner. She doesn’t own a car, and relies on the bus to get to work.

The big challenge I’m facing arrives later today when I try to navigate the bus-BART system to get to an interview in Concord. It seem like one of those “The Amazing Race” challenges, only on a very, very, very, very small scale without the exotic locales.

Although Walnut Creek and Concord practically rub geographic shoulders on the map, the cities seem as far away as Alamo is to Sacramento when traveling minus a car. The hour-plus plan I’ve come up with might not be the easiest nor the fastest, but I’m going to stick to it. At least until 11.

To get to my interview by 12:30 p.m. I have to leave the office no later than 11 a.m. I’ve created some wiggle room in case I get lost, always a possibility given my checkered past.

Some people do this every day, getting to work, doctor’s appointments and home, by bus. I admire the heck out of you.

Randy Myers arrives Friday morning

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  • anon, Walnut Creek

    You have discovered the mind-numbing routing system of the County Connection. For a small system it does a great job with bus to BART connections and is somewhat useful for travel within one community, but it falls down on Concord to Walnut Creek or other city to city routing. It’s a three hour, two transfer ride to get from most Concord points to Kaiser WC for example. Too often the only routing between communities involves a side trip to BART (try starting in Pleasant Hill and heading for Lafayette or Tice Valley.)

    I live in WC and could use it for most trips to downtown if the service included evenings and weekends. It seems to me that subsidizing the bus routes to central shopping and commercial zones is probably more cost effective than trying to shoehorn in more parking.