Sunday, December 7, 2014

Life as a train commuter

This week I took the train to work every day.  Not a big deal, right?  Well, the last time I did that was in 1980, so it’s a big deal for me.  My client relocated to downtown Dallas, where parking is not free and where traffic is awful.

The train I am riding is Dallas Area Rapid Transit (  It is light rail, not a full sized subway or anything like that.  Tickets can be purchased through an iPhone app, GoPass.  A monthly pass is $80, but due to my advanced age I only have to pay half of that.  The ticket machines are finicky, so having the ability to buy tickets by phone is very, very handy.

During peak times, the trains seem to run every 7 or 8 minutes.  I have gotten a seat every time so far, but the seats seem designed for someone who is maybe 5’7” and 150 pounds, which is me in the ninth grade.  Add a briefcase and you have a tight fit.  I am traveling a little off peak, which is probably why I can get a seat.  The train stops at Pearl St downtown, about a 30 second walk to the building where I work.

My ride is around 30 minutes, and I’ve been passing the time by reading on an e-reader.  I would like to read the paper but it’s just too confined a space.  I am hoping to watch movies on my iPad as a diversion.  The train is very noisy, with continual reminders that you have to pay to ride the train, and to activate your GoPass prior to boarding, etc.  Very annoying.  

I have seen fare inspectors twice in one week.  I wonder what will happen if they want to check my ticket when the train is underground, because the GoPass app needs an internet connection.  

It’s definitely a change from what I’m used to.  One problem is that the train does not stop at my health club.  I have experimented with using a park-and-ride station that is close by to the health club, but I’m not sure yet if that will work.

Check back in a couple of months.  I may be used to the train, or I may be retired.