As difficult as it is, I work very hard to convince myself that the world does not revolve around me. Today that was a little harder, because I learned about a new website that seems designed just to make my life easier.
Several times a week, I’m confronted with the possibility that I will miss Train #544 out of Amtrak’s Jack London Square, a.k.a. C.L. Dellums Station. As the train is late once and a while, I sometimes jump online to see if a delay will save me from waiting another 80 minutes for Train #546. The problem, however, is that the Capitol Corridor website directs you to Amtrak (they run the trains, so it makes sense), where you have to differentiate your train and station from those in the rest of the nation before getting your times.
This new website does that for you, giving you a list something like an airport arrival and departure board.
It needs some work before it can be really useful, however. According to John Tulloch, who lives near the station and inspired its creation, it only updates at the top and bottom of every hour. Often a late train won’t be announced until five minutes before it’s scheduled to arrive, so that’s not much help unless it arrives at 5:04 or some such time.
The other limitation is that it’s just for Jack London Square. I’d like to see a similar site for Richmond and Emeryville, updated every five minutes.
What was fun about seeing the site up and running this morning was that it confirmed what I already knew about Train #529, i.e., that it was 42 minutes late getting in (because a reportedly unruly passenger was ejected at Richmond, where I ejected myself and took BART 20 minutes before the police finished their removal effort).
While this site, with the aforementioned modifications, would make my life easier, it could also help those who live and work within earshot of Jack London Square, where trains rolling down the Embarcadero blow their horns constantly until they reach the station. By checking the site, one might know when it was best NOT to start a sensitive phone conversation.