Do you live in the Oakley or Brentwood area? Do you commute to work? Today's blog post is all about the personal experience of one of our team members, commuting to a conference in San Francisco in the rain. At Cypress Self Storage (Oakley's newest self storage, currently under construction), we truly love our local community. Today's post shares our love for our Tri Delta transit options.
I previously wrote a blog for this website that discussed the many ways that Tri Delta area commuters dealt with having to sit in their cars for their seemingly endless commutes to San Francisco and other remote areas. (See link to that blog.)
Since I wrote that blog, I had to travel to downtown San Francisco for a conference. I was very excited about the conference, but I was dreading the commute. In previewing the weather forecast, I knew it was going to be pouring rain and did not want to drive and deal with the stresses of driving, or traffic in general. And then on top of that, I would need to deal with congested rush-hour city traffic, and then outrageous parking fees - if I could even find parking!
So I planned on taking BART from the Pittsburg/Bay Point station (which was the closest BART station at the time, but we now have the New Antioch BART Station). That is arduous in itself because in order to get a parking spot, one needs to get there by 6:30 a.m., and even at that hour, you'll be parking in the boonies. And because of the amount of traffic on Highway 4 from Antioch to Concord, the commute from Brentwood or Oakley to the Pittsburg/Bay Point station can take 45 mins!
(FYI – if you're new to the Bay Area and not familiar with the BART system, most stations reserve parking spots for commuters who need to take BART after 10 a.m.; however those spots are only available after 10 a.m. So if you need to get into San Francisco or downtown Oakland, or anywhere BARTable later in the afternoon, there is some hope! You can also hope that some people working swing shifts will vacate some parking spots. But Tri Delta Transit runs regularly throughout the day until around 9 p.m. See http://trideltatransit.com/ for schedules.)
As I dreaded that trek to questionable parking in the pouring rain, I pondered another alternative - taking the bus. I have to admit to being a bit of a bus snob, but I'm also a big fan of not risking my life driving in thunderous downpours, and continuing to put wear and tear on my car.
So the night before my conference, I pinged my local Facebook commuter friends to find out more. (Say what you will about the evils of social media - it has saved my bacon on more than one occasion!) I was told the lot fills by 7 or 8 a.m. As I wanted to get to the conference in downtown San Francisco by 9, I wanted to give myself ample time to get coffee and find the conference rooms, network and Murphy's Law in general. So I got to the Park & Ride lot near my house at 6:30 a.m. (Boom! I already saved myself 45 minutes!), and not only was there an open spot right near where the busses pulled up, but plenty of spots in the lots nearby.
As it was cold and rainy, I figured I could wait in my car until the bus came. But the bus showed up right on time. And because my stop is early on, I got a nice comfy seat. I was able to do pay some bills, check social media, and even take care of a little business work on my way there.
I had to wait a bit for the train, but that wasn't too bad. And because Pittsburg/Bay Point is the first stop, I got a seat and continued to do work and browsing on the rest of my commute. (Note: Try not to fall asleep on the train - while the engine is very effective at lulling one back to sleep, especially in the wee early morning hours, it's also a good way to get your stuff, particularly your phone, stolen.)
I got to the Powell Street station around 8:30 a.m., which worked out perfectly. But toward the end of the conference, I started dreading the trek home. While I double-checked the bus schedule on line (Tri-Delta Transit has a great mobile web site with ample and accurate details about bus numbers and schedules), I was still skeptical that I wasn't going to need Uber to get back to my car at the Park n' Ride. Because Murphy's Law.
Anyone who has taken BART from downtown San Francisco knows that one will most likely need to stand on the train until Oakland or so. When I got back to the Pittsburg/Bay Point station, I had to wait about 20 minutes for the bus back to the Park & Ride. I almost didn't get a seat (I imagine at one point I'll need to stand for most of that trip as well), but it was still so much better than stewing in traffic on highway 4. And my car was right there waiting for me, and I had less than a mile drive home.
The round trip for the bus fare was slightly more than I would have paid for BART parking, but if I had to make that trip on a regular basis, it would save gas and wear and tear on my car, not to mention stress from driving.
The bus and BART combination is a great alternative to driving. And now it's only getting better better with the new Antioch station off Hillcrest Avenue. I believe the new station will be a godsend to Tri-Delta commuters and will hopefully further ease traffic on Highway 4.
Information on Tri Delta Transit including Clipper cards (an all-in-one transit card for Bay Area mass transportation), schedules, bus stop locations, fares, maps and more are available at trideltatransit.com.