Everybody’s been saying that Monday drivers were scared onto BART and other public transit, and that later in the week we’d see people getting back into their cars and creating gridlock on all those alternate routes through the streets of Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.
Even so, Tuesday turned out OK. Enough people were still doing the smart thing and riding transit.
Today I don’t see things going so well. Not because it’s later in the week, and people are thinking: “I can take my car this time and it won’t create a huge problem, because all those other drivers are being good, right?” That’s certainly a factor, I’m sure, but I think its’ possible that people will continue to do the right thing, even after two relatively good commute days in spite of Sunday’s gasoline tanker disaster that took down the eastbound I-80 to eastbound I-580 ramp in the MacArthur Maze.
No, the deciding factor is the same one that puts me in my car for my 67-mile commute, even though I’d rather be sitting on the train reading the newspaper and sipping a cup of coffee.
In all of the eastern suburbs this morning, it’s raining. Even experienced commuters don’t like waiting for a bus in the rain. Parking at BART is limited, and even the newbie transit commuters must have figured that out by now.
I think a lot of people would rather be sitting in a dry car in gridlock than standing out in the rain waiting for a bus. I could handle that, but my problem is usually one of riding my bike in the rain and a lack of parking at the train station.
Although my expectation is diminished for today’s afternoon rush, with all of those people coming back after their fateful decisions this morning, I do have one slight hope: That all these new transit commuters will already be committed to their new mode of transportation before they realize just how miserable it is to wait for a bus in the rain.