Photo from www.trainweb.org
Funny that just as I’m about to write a story about the Capitol Corridor’s triumph over our limited railway network, nearly doubling its service to San Jose and adding more trips to Sacramento, I get a call from someone who’s less than pleased with the service.
In the corridor’s defense, he’s not a regular rider, but this one-time experience was a doozy.
David Francis of Wooster, Ohio, was visiting his mom in Oakland in July when he agreed to send his 15-year-old daughter to see an old friend in Davis.
Like many parents putting their children onto public transportation, “I was worried about the other passengers…,” he told me.
Turns out, according to his daughter’s account, it was the conductor he should have been worried about.
She told her dad that the conductor demanded see her identification, and when she explained that she was 15 and had none, he yelled at her to “GET OFF MY TRAIN!”
He then proceeded to herd her off of the train at Berkeley, which is unstaffed and hardly the sort of place you want your Ohio farm girl dropped off without a cell phone.
All this after paying for a ticket.
Francis said he has tried and failed to get satisfaction from Amtrak, but had no idea that Amtrak is running the line for the multi-county Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority. I gave him their number.
“What I was hoping was that I would get a letter saying, hey, were sorry that this happened. If they said the conductor has been fired, or that the conductor has been punished in this way, then Id be satisfied with that,” Francis said.
I told him that the Capitol Corridor people have worked hard to cultivate a customer-conscious environment, and they might be more responsive than a national entity like Amtrak.
Whatever happens, Francis got his daughter after she borrowed a cell phone from a stranger and he got directions from the phone’s owner.
She’s ok, luckily, but if her story is accurate and I were running the railroad, I would hope that an apology and a free train ticket will be enough to set things right.