Ridership Up

Here comes the train, up to the Rohnert Park platform

My youthful,cheerful Lyft driver lives in Sebastopol, and is a Bernie supporter, although he’s nice about it. I swore an oath before I left the house that I was going to request the day be an oasis from politics; my second question to him was, “So, did you watch the debate last night?”

He hadn’t, and I’d only watched some highlights, and that worked out perfectly.

Lyft’s GPS gives bad directions to the Rohnert Park SMART stop. It believes that there is an entrance on the Expressway side, and there isn’t. It worked fine because he was able to pull over to the shoulder and let me out, but it’s something someone ought to fix. I have no idea how that gets done.

South of Petaluma, the wetlands and a flock of birds.

My car is filled to standing room only, humming with cheerful conversation. In front of me a couple a few years older than me stand. I offer them my seat; they both decline. The man says, “It’s like surfing!” I say, “That’s a stretch, but your Hawaii T-shirt helps sell it.” He grins like a kid as he watches the scenery go past. It is, he says, their first time on the train.

There are lots of eager, happy children traveling with parents.

It looked like I’d have fog in the city.

SMART is offering a promotion through the end of February. If you’re taking the train into San Francisco, your SMART ticket will get you a ferry ticket at no extra cost, and returning, your ferry fee will get you a train ride at no extra cost. This runs on weekends and holidays only for the month. I think a lot of people on the train knew about that.

I’ve never understood the politics of the train, just as I will never understand how stations end up where they do. The Cotati Station is… what, two miles?… from the RP station. That makes sense; the California State University at Sonoma students use the train, and that station is close to the campus. The town of Novato has three stations, though, while Petaluma currently has one. This might be politics, or it might be that Novato is a spread-out kind of town. There are plans for a north Petaluma station.

I’m curious to get to Larkspur and make the walk to the ferry terminal.


The website said that it’s a fifteen minute walk to the ferry terminal. To my surprise that’s about right. If you are with someone using a wheelchair or with other mobility issues,or you have a lot of luggage, it may take longer, so plan accordingly when making your travel plans. The walkway is well engineered, wide and smooth, and goes over the surface streets so you lose no time at stoplights.

The walkway.
This second image gives you an idea of both the length and the engineering. The left ramp takes you down to a parking lot and a cinema. The right curves around and drops you onto the street where you have a two-block walk to the ferries.

This is less that ideal, but it’s here and it works. As you can see, it’s not covered. While I enjoyed the fairly brisk walk over, I might not have quite so happy in a pelting rainstorm. Such is life.

But there it was. Fifteen minutes later I’m on the hydrofoil, on my way to the city.

A bit of a wake.
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