Still a few holes in the system

When my daughter was a toddler, my wife & I would joke about starting a “child-proofing” service. We could show up at a house with our daughter, and in 10 minutes Jenna could locate every way that a child could hurt themselves. Exposed electrical sockets, sharp corners, stairs with no gates – you name it, she’d find it.

I kind of feel the same way about the Capitol Corridor commuter train system. I’ve got a long list of issues that I’ve run into over the years, and sometimes it feels like it’s just me, pushing the extreme commuter envelope.

Sacramento Station

On Thursday, for example, it was the Sacramento parking garage. The Sacramento train station lot was full when I arrived on Wednesday afternoon, but if you ride the train you get the same rate at the nearby parking structure.

But when you leave the garage, you have to give them something they can keep that proves you rode the train, to some definition of the word “prove”. Normally this would be your train ticket, but I use a multi-ride 10-pass.

Now I’d run into this same situation a few months before. The garage attendant refused to give me the commuter rate unless he got my ticket, but there’s no way I’m giving him my $150 10-pass. In desperation I gave him the stub attached to the ticket, but then the next time I rode the train the conductor gave me grief about the ticket not really being valid unless the stub was still attached.

So this time I was better prepared. I asked the conductor on the train if he could give me some proof of ridership. No go. He suggested I ask at the Sacramento station…they also had no good suggestion, but the guy at my window did give me several stubs from old tickets he had on his desk, so I had something to hand over when leaving the garage.

I asked the attendant a “what if I had a 10-pass” question, and he admitted that it was a hole in the system. His suggestion was to copy the 10-pass and give a copy to them. Unfortunately I don’t carry a portable copying machine around with me, and I’m guessing that’s true of most other people on the train.

So it’s time for my semi-regular email to Gene Skoropowski, managing directory of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority. He’s a minor deity, by the way – an effective bureacrat who cares. It’s amazing how much good a single person like that can do in the right job.

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