Friday, February 12 Tigers & Valentines this weekend


Vallejo, 7:20 am

Light rain and, thankfully, plenty of cars.  I join a driver and another passenger in a lovely car I’ve been in before.  This is a KIA Amanti, a wide comfy, deliciously warm sedan.  Fake but tastefully done wood paneling on the dash.  An attractive African American woman is driving, wearing a brilliantly multi-colored blouse with a wrist full of bright beaded bracelets.  It’s Friday light on the freeway and we make good time going the speed limit all the way to the bridge.  It’s at the toll plaza where I always feel smug about being a casual carpooler.  All those cars backed up waiting for fast track or to pay the toll, even today, a light Friday. We whiz right by the 6 lanes of non-moving cars.

As we enter the bridge I ask the driver how she feels about paying a toll come July 1.  “I think the riders should pay the driver”, she says without a pause.  I agree with her, but add that I think the toll is not a good idea for the carpool program.   She and  the gentleman in the back seat enthusiastically agree.  They feel that many people who regularly drive will stop picking up passengers once the toll is in place. She thinks she will stop driving, maybe start taking BART.

We arrive at the Fremont Street drop off, and wish each other a good day, and  ‘Happy Valentine’s’.    The Chinese New Year of the Tiger begins on Sunday, April 14, so it’s a double holiday along with Valentine’s Day.  A triple holiday this weekend, with Monday being the holiday for Presidents’ Day.

No commuting for 3 days!  Gung Hay Fat Choy!

3 Responses

  1. Great blog and very interesting about the tolls.

    How many of the riders do you think would be prepared to pay (say$1) towards the drivers’ costs?

    If the tollls will get rid of drivers, do you think a cost to the rider would get rid of riders?

    Based on your conversations wtih riders and drivers, how big do you think the changes would be?

    • Hi Paul – Just from a very casual survey, most riders I’ve met are happy to pay something; it’s still a great deal to get a ride into the city for $1. I am surprised at the number of drivers who are adamant about NOT continuing to drive if they don’t get paid. But, as one driver pointed out, by the time she pays gas and parking, she’s already losing money and without the free toll, there’s no value there at all. Just the good neighbor feeling of keeping more cars off the freeway is not motivation enough. Blah. We do what we can.

      I saw some interesting comments on the Casual Carpool News blog (see blogroll on this blog).

  2. Great blog, Commuter Gal! Sorry to hear about the tolls. Keep writing and slugging – you never know who you’re inspiring!

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