Friday, August 6 – The week ends and so does the Transbay Terminal


Wednesday and Friday rides take off once again in the chilly gray fog. (I stayed home Thursday). Amazing that only 10 miles away it’s 80 and 90 degree weather. We are cursed with this heavy fog bank along the coast of California this summer and it is a drag. Refreshing, no doubt for visitors from the steamy east. After a frosty 10-minute wait, Wednesday’s ride is a Toyota SUV. The driver was a high energy guy in a crisp dress shirt and jeans. A big good morning. As I handed over my toll dollar I asked him if the riders were all paying up. “Oh yes, everyone is real good about it”. The other passenger pays $1.25.

Today (Friday) I was happy to see a line of about 20 or 30 cars waiting for riders. I hopped into a Nissan SUV driven by an Islander-looking lady in a bright chartreuse sweater. A crystal bead rosary swung from the mirror as we took off, flying down the nearly empty freeway at 70 mph. One cup holder appears to hold toll donations, the other was filled with yellow butterscotch candies in shiny cellophane. The cool air was on (it’s 54 degrees) – an ongoing mystery to me why drivers turn on the air conditioning in this weather. Near Berkeley a lone pelican flapped through the super heavy gray fog over the freeway blanketing the bay area this morning. I saw the rest of his flock further on down the freeway, swooping, as only pelicans can, over the bay. The Golden Gate Bridge was invisible in the muck and the city appeared to end at Nob Hill. We whizzed past a nearly empty toll plaza and into the city at 8 a.m.

I walked up to the Transbay Terminal for my last bus ride from the 70 year-old building. Demolition begins next week. I asked the driver, “This is the last day I’ll catch my bus here, right?”. “Yah, historical day”, he says with a heavy Russian accent. “Very historical.” He’s excited about the change in locations and goes on to give me a completely incomprehensible description of the new bus routing and where I’ll be catching my bus on Monday. But I’ll figure it out – the new temporary terminal is only a couple of blocks away and is highly visible – all white metal struts poking up into the air. The driver adds that the original plan was to have the buses pull inside the terminal to pick up passengers, but that changed when the city realized it could make better ($) use of the indoor space for vendors, so riders will continue to catch buses outside, as we have been doing at the old terminal.

And so the fifth week of the new bridge tolls ends. And the end of the summer that never was is not far off. But here’s the weekend once again and let’s make the most of it. See you Monday.

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