What a week it’s been.
When I got off BART at Richmond last night, I went up to the station’s booth, looked into the window and said, “I’ve lost my ticket.”
The attendant gave me a slightly puzzled look and said, “What you want me to do about it?”
Suddenly, 48 hours of pent-up stress released from for her, it seemed, as she feigned an exclamation of rage, ran out of her booth, motioned me over to the barrier and proceed to mock-choke me.
“It seems like everybody and their grandmother is coming out from under rocks for this,” she laughed.
It was, of course, the back-to-back Spare the Air Days she was talking about, an unintended experiment to show what the world might be like if there was free transit.
During my last ride, I sat next to a mumbler who repeated the names of stations to no one in particular after each announcement.
He got off at Berkeley, just as I expected.
Nearly all of the six free rides I enjoyed on BART that weekend were not on-schedule. The fact that I noticed, however, betrays how much I take their normal punctuality for granted.
BART posted record gains in ridership, although one has to wonder how many riders were just taking advantage of the free rides and not actually avoiding a car trip.
Big increases were also recorded on ACE commuter rail and light rail in San Jose, which were also among the 25 transit operators that gave free rides Thursday and Friday.
If gas prices go back up and stay up, many of those agencies may be trying to accommodate this many passengers even when the rides aren’t free.