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Old 05-29-2014, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,674,744 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Why should you be working on the way to/from work? It can be stressful to take a train and have it be late, making YOU late, having to make small talk with strangers, etc. The two have their pros and cons.
I think there is an unofficial rule about no small talk during a commute. It is pretty rare, I haven't been on a "subway" or bus where people were making small talk. On Amtrak it happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Depends on the type of train and the person.

I find sitting on the maze in my car with a nice view in a comfortable seat listening to a podcast/audio book in the car where I can control the temperature or have a nice breeze to be way less stressful than standing on a packed BART squealing along that's about 80 degrees from the meat that's packed into the grinder and smells like body odor and god knows what has been ground into the carpets over 20 years of use. I don't like it $20-30 a day more, which is why I put up with BART to avoid the cost of parking in downtown San Francisco. The other reason I take BART is it's just as fast, maybe even faster, door to door than driving. It takes a long time to park and walk to BART and wait for the train, but it also takes a long time to get across the bridge and park in San Francisco. That's atypical. In most places driving is far faster and thus less stressful, likely to cause divorce, depression, and obesity than public transit, or so the study says.
I hate waiting in traffic, and find the predictability of BART much less stressful than the unpredictable nature of congestion. In the past roughly 18 years of BART rides, at various levels for frequency during the time period, anywhere from 1 day a week to 4, I have had maybe a dozen experiences where the train was delayed more than 7 minutes.

Quote:
I mean, on Amtrak I'd agree. On BART no. It's not uncomfortable outside of rush hour/Giants game. It's not really comfortable either.
BART is more designed for "comfort" than most transit systems, with padded seats and arm rests. (although those cloth seats are another story). There is a ton of variability in the noise level on the ride. I hadn't found it particularly loud until I went to the end of the line at the airport to San Mateo county a few times in a short span. Most of the time I get off in downtown, and it isn't so bad. But OMG the tunnel between Civic Center/Mission and the one around Glen Park/Balboa Park is ridiculously loud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I can see telecommuting, but I don't get working on the way to work. Granted, I don't have a lot of experience with that type of work. Napping I can see!
I found time on transit great to reply to all the emails that build up or work on your to do list. I can't do "big projects" on transit, but there are all sorts of little tasks that were easy to accomplish. Like reading documents and other stuff.

Quote:
I agree about laptops, even a regular broadsheet newspaper would be hard to read on a crowded bus/train. You could maybe use a kindle or a phone.
I am amazed at the number of people using laptops on a crowded bart train. One day I saw a guy in a full squat typing away on his laptop for at least 20 minutes. I thought, gee he has some serious leg strength and flexibility!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bg7 View Post
Having said that, BART sounds no fun. Like the subway. Anything too busy where you cannot sit, or hot, or noisy, is no fun.
BART isn't 100% crowded. There are little tricks to get a seat. For example, the crowd piles in st two downtown SF stations. If you get on one or two stops earlier, you can get a seat. I have been known to hop on the train in the other direction to do that. The ride is only like 2-3 minutes to the next station. For me, living in Oakland, getting a seat in the commute is impossible. But the train clears out in Oakland's downtown or one stop after, so after 20 minutes from downtown SF seats are readily available for people with longer rides in the PM. I don't know when the seats fill up in the AM, but for me getting a seat is impossible, but the train clears out once you get through the 2nd SF stop and seats are readily available.
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Old 05-29-2014, 10:25 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
15,523 posts, read 17,745,743 times
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As far as small talk on trains, if you are on a commuter train, like New York's Metro-North, you may very well be sharing a train with neighbors. There are people who get on/off the train at the same time and station. You may recognize them from your community. I am not trying to say that the train is a social experience, but it is not unheard of to talk to someone you -know- or at least recognize from your community, on the train. I'm not talking about striking up conversations with absolute strangers.

Shoot, Metro-North used to have bar cars and not a few relationships (and affairs) started with an after work drink on a commute. When I was a kid, you would see groups of professionals getting out of the bar car and walking together as a group. Sadly, the bar cars are gone now.
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:55 AM
 
7,846 posts, read 5,290,242 times
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This is all embedded in the American car-centric dream.

Purchase a bicycle (e-bike if you have large hills), and pedal your tail to work. If you live within 15 miles, you should be riding. If you live further than 15 miles, you are too far from work.. or you need to find a regional commuter rail to ride.

Commuting by car kills.
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:45 PM
 
Location: North Quabbin, MA
802 posts, read 973,196 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opin_Yunated View Post
This is all embedded in the American car-centric dream.

Purchase a bicycle (e-bike if you have large hills), and pedal your tail to work. If you live within 15 miles, you should be riding. If you live further than 15 miles, you are too far from work.. or you need to find a regional commuter rail to ride.

Commuting by car kills.
I agree with you. However I'd argue that living in or around the soul-eviscerating, mediocre, culturally-deprived, strip-mall-oriented, bike-lane-less (even the local transit authority is so backwards that they don't even provide bike racks) little city where I work would kill me faster than my 45-minute car commute back to a place I love living, where, unfortunately, there are virtually no jobs.

I hate being a commuter but I'd hate living in the exurban doldrums of Central Massachusetts (the far western frontier of Metro Boston) even more. If I tried biking around this city, I'd probably get hit by a Hummer.
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
7,311 posts, read 12,203,708 times
Reputation: 6138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opin_Yunated View Post
This is all embedded in the American car-centric dream.

Purchase a bicycle (e-bike if you have large hills), and pedal your tail to work. If you live within 15 miles, you should be riding. If you live further than 15 miles, you are too far from work.. or you need to find a regional commuter rail to ride.

Commuting by car kills.
Sure, we don't all want to live like rats in a maze spinning around and around on a treadmill. We should ride a bike 15 miles to work, eh? What happens when the school calls and wants you to come pick up your sick child? Or you need groceries? Or you got a dentist appointment at mid-day? Or after 12 knee surgeries your knees don't bend enough to pedal a bike much less get on one? Or what if you don't look good in spandex or don't want people gawking at your package? How do you ride that bike to work after a snow storm? When I was a kid I had a bike but now I'm not a kid anymore so I have to deal with real world responsibilities.
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:53 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,011 posts, read 102,621,396 times
Reputation: 33075
Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Laptop work is better suited to commuter trains, especially ones with Wi-Fi, maybe not the best for subway, streetcar or light rail. I don't do day-job work on transit but I do a lot of volunteer work for nonprofits outside of work hours, and when riding light rail I often break out my phone (like everyone else) but instead of playing Candy Crush or whatever I'm usually checking email and following up on various projects, planning my schedule etc.
Usually when I get out my phone I check CD! It's awfully hard to post, but fun to read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bg7 View Post
Plenty of people work on the train - but it depends what type of Job you have. If you are a lawyer, an analyst, even doctor, a scientific researcher - you are paid to get the job done, its not an hourly pay you get but a salary. So if you need to catch up or get ahead on editing a document you wrote, researching the fast-food industry in China, reading the latest paper on stroke therapies etc, the train is perfect - minimal disturbance and generally surrounded by others doing the same. Its all AC and relatively modern too. Its also a good place to read the newspaper before you get home to the chaos of kids/dogs etc, even have a beer.

Having said that, BART sounds no fun. Like the subway. Anything too busy where you cannot sit, or hot, or noisy, is no fun.
Ha! Lawyers charge by the minute! Doctors get paid by the patient, in private practice anyway. Researchers usually are salaried but they get comp time for going over (sometimes at only 80%, though). I don't know too many transit systems that let one drink a bottle of water, let alone a beer.
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:58 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,979,923 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Ha! Lawyers charge by the minute! Doctors get paid by the patient, in private practice anyway. Researchers usually are salaried but they get comp time for going over (sometimes at only 80%, though). I don't know too many transit systems that let one drink a bottle of water, let alone a beer.
Commuter rail usually allows food and drink. The LIRR allows alcohol, or at least doesn't care (one poster mentioned MetroNorth used to have a bar car). The local buses here allow food and drink, so does both NYC and Boston's subway systems.

In any case, many jobs have a certain amount of paperwork that can be done on public transit.
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:58 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,979,923 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Usually when I get out my phone I check CD! It's awfully hard to post, but fun to read.
I'm not yet in the 21st century, I'm currently lacking a smart phone.
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:59 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,011 posts, read 102,621,396 times
Reputation: 33075
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I'm not yet in the 21st century, I'm currently lacking a smart phone.
Get with the program! (I just got mine a few months ago.)
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,674,744 times
Reputation: 26666
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opin_Yunated View Post
This is all embedded in the American car-centric dream.

Purchase a bicycle (e-bike if you have large hills), and pedal your tail to work. If you live within 15 miles, you should be riding. If you live further than 15 miles, you are too far from work.. or you need to find a regional commuter rail to ride.

Commuting by car kills.
Who has time to bike 15 miles to work. In city traffic (with lights and stop signs) that would easily take 90 minutes. And if you blasted through that any faster you'd need to change clothes and take a shower at work. Not particularly practical.

Taking short trips by bike is a good idea but 30 miles round trip isn't particularly practical. Especially if you have to tack on other home or post work duties. The average commute is about 30 minutes. Keeping that in mind, a more realistic bike commute is about 5-6 miles.
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