I’m Back–Now Let’s Talk “ShAmtrak”

Posted on 2 min read

It’s been a while since last I posted on this site–but it felt like the right time.

So much in my life has changed since I first began writing Shmy.

To start with, I’ve moved to downtown San Diego.  Little Italy to be exact. I took a job in Irvine, which is in Orange County–about 76 miles from my apartment. It exists behind what I like to call the Orange curtain. Of course living behind the orange curtain would make my life easier than downtown SD, but the place just doesn’t feel like the right place for me. So, I moved closer to the train, in order to commute more easily to work.

Let me describe for you the experience of attempting to travel via public transportation in the state of California.

FIrst off, it’s nearly impossible to get from South to North in any mode other than Amtrak. Which is akin to taking the first ever jet plane across town.  It’s expensive, loud, slow, often late, usually empty, breaks down, has no record of your ticket (you must have a paper ticket), is rarely on-time, can’t move if another train is anywhere in the vicinity, and unlike a jet it makes a million stops.

Now, many people who read this will think to themselves, duh! It’s California, what do you expect? You’re supposed to drive your car. It’s the way the state is designed. I would say, what about the Bay area? Why is it that some cities can do public transport well and others can’t? Why can’t we improve something that is so clearly dysfunctional?

It’s a question I ask myself often. Why is it if we see that something doesn’t work, we can’t simply fix it? Streamline the system to help make it better?

The pros of taking public transit each day are the many human moments that simply can’t be experienced in the safe pod of your car, driving up and down the freeway. I give my car (a Prius) a rest. I give the environment a break. And I lower my risk of being involved in an accident.

The cons? I drove home from work the other day–it took me three hours.

Guess, I’ll keep struggling with the train.