Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ode To The Cable Car

San Francisco has the last operational cable cars in the world. It's amazing to think that every other city got rid of these classic forms of public transit. Tommie and I bought three-day "Muni" passes so that we could hop on and off the cars at our leisure and we got to experience it all...squeezed inside the cabin, holding onto the outside rails (which was more like a ride on the downhill), and even getting pushed up the hill by a tow truck (the lube on the tracks was too slick in the rain so the tow truck drove into the back of the car to get it up the hill).
After failing miserably at buying BART tickets to and from the city itself, I realized that I am not cut out for any form modern transit. First of all, there are no people to be found. Machines can't tell me when I'm buying the wrong ticket...which I, of course, did. And machines don't give refunds when you're an idiot. Machines also try to trick you on purpose...the BART machine tries to automatically get you to purchase $20 worth when you only need $4, and figuring out how to subtract your money is a true test. On the way home I had to put cash in the machine because it wouldn't read my card. This meant I needed change which came spilling out the mouth of the machine in the form of quarters and sounded like I was a jackpot winner at a Vegas casino...great in Vegas...bad in a subway station crawling with homeless people who appeared at my side faster than you could say, "winner!"

The cable cars were more my style...there are very few of them, so less chance of hopping onto the wrong one; they have to follow a very set track so you always know exactly where they are headed; they are run by people who you can actually see and talk to while you are en route, and you can pay these people/give them your pass directly. I say bring back the cable car, or at the very least, bring back human patrons at the subway/train stations. Having one-sided arguments with machines is really getting embarrassing, but maybe that's just me.

No comments:

Post a Comment