Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Earned my Carbon Offsets via Twitter today.

Yesterday I saw a tweet in my Caltrain search window in which someone was asking the best way to San Jose from SFO. He asked if Caltrain would be appropriate.

I noted a few tweeted replies of disdain, and the original author seemingly resigned to taking a cab. Your holier than thou transit guru could not of course take this sitting down. Aside from the gasoline, that's $100 in the shorts of the passenger or his company. Cabs have their purpose but this isn't one of them.

I pointed Bryan to the Monterey Airbus which is a little known transport option between SJC and SFO. My information is not entirely current - the website does not indicate that they will shuttle you between airports - but my first encounter with this shuttle was talking to a flight attendant who said that pilots and flight attendants frequently used this connector. Basically it's a shuttle to both airports from Monterey, so along that route it stops at both airports. I'd call ahead if you want to test this one out - at the very least they don't publish a fare between airports.

Anyway, he indicated that the shuttle times weren't so great for him, and I asked when he landed. He said 10 AM, which is not the best for Caltrain, which runs only hourly midday and all trains are limited. He needed to be at Millbrae by 10:31 or he'd wait another hour for an hour long local ride to Diridon.

Typically one gets from the airport to Caltrain via BART - but it takes time to get from whatever terminal you are landing at to the BART station, then there is a wait for the train, and the dreaded SFO->San Bruno->Millbrae BART shuffle. I doubted he could make it from his seat to Caltrain in 31 minutes even if he was experienced. I posited if he was carrying on his bags and went straight to the Taxi line, he could get a cab to Millbrae Caltrain and if he was late, just take the cab to SJC (omitting the pro move of taking the cab southbound until you can intercept the train).

I saw this tweet this AM...

@murphstahoe Cabbed it over to Millbrae and arrived with 5 minutes to spare. Just caught 10:31 train. Thanks for your help!

update: A cab to Millbrae - $13.75 plus tip. Saves ~20 minutes is my guess.

Shocking. Twitter is the new google. Why search the cluttered web when you have a giant sized interactive helpdesk?


Yokota Fritz said...

I'm surprised you also didn't mention your favorite SamTrans bus route, though, as you talk about w/ Caltrain, the scheduling and connections are far from optimal.

murphstahoe said...

He needed to get to San Jose. The KX is great from SFO to Hillsdale, but then he'd need to get on Caltrain anyway. It's hard to find the KX stop at the airport, and convoluted to figure out where to get off at Hillsdale. And they've cut the frequency on the KX.

It's a great backup, but it's not Caltrain.

Amusingly there is someone else on twitter complaining that they did airtrain to BART to Millbrae (via San Bruno) and missed the midday Caltrain by 5 minutes (earning a 55 minute wait). The pro move under such time pressure would be the cab, the Cat-2 move would be walk to BART in the airport instead of bothering with the bogus AirTrain.

I'm trying to find out how much the Cab to Millbrae was. The BART fare is $4. If you have 2 people it would only be nominally more expensive to cab and substantially faster. The cabbies would HATE it if this became a trend, which is a perfect reason to promote it. If the cabbies threw a fit maybe they would lower the fare to Millbrae and perhaps bring back the direct line.

BikeBoy said...

At some point, we'll start arranging carpools / shared cabs via twitter - just need a publish/search meme to evolve (e.g. #sfo2scjShare) Figure the valley's big enough and twopulated* enough that it ought to work...

* "twopulated" = populated by tweeple. I just made that up.

murphstahoe said...

that sort of cab sharing is already happening, whenever there is a Caltrain fail. Most of it happens on the platform, but now with twitter you can be arranging cab shares online before the train finally pulls into a station and calling ahead to a cab.

The cyclists arrange pacelines in a similar manner, tweeting the 2nd bike car or upstream/downstream trains.

Green Topaz said...

You should get free carbon offsets: