Using Oakland airport-bah humbug

Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 11:17 AM
  #21  
 
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LoveItaly, are you thinking what I am thinking? We can earn advice payments instead of free flyers' miles
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 01:16 PM
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Hi there Faina, good idea, lol.

I don't take BART like I use to as BART doesn't come into Solano Country unfortantly, thanks to the voters decades ago that voted against the tiny increase in sales tax so that BART would have come into Solano County. One reason I-80 is so miserable now.
The voters made a bad desicion.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 02:48 PM
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Oakland is just not the "well kept secret" it used to be. They are for sure having growing pains but as long as I don't have to fool with BART, it's an easy in and out for me. I have to fly down to the Bay Area and back when I go to Paris in Nov. I'm going down the day before my flight out to Paris and I got the 49.00 internet fare to Oakland from Reno. Coming back, of course I have to fly from SFO to Reno. My only choice is United and they do a share with America West. My fare going home from SFO is 140.00. So, Oakland and Southwest get my vote. I could have taken BART to Oakland and then back home from Oakland, but after an 11 hour flight I didn't want to do that. SFO is ALWAYS a mess and has been that way for YEARS, and I have a feeling that there will be changes at Oakland too. Man, I sometimes thing about how much air traffic there is around there between Oakland, SFO, and then several small airports. Those traffic control guys have their work cut out for them for sure.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 03:25 PM
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I don't understand why the original poster is equating B.A.R.T. problems with a bad rap on the Oakland Airport.

I can't believe how convenient it has been to fly into Oakland on Southwest and then rent a car and jet right out of there toward the San Mateo Bridge on the way to anywhere I needed to go.

Not only that but she threatens not to return to San Fran (which certainly bears no responsibility for either B.A.R.T. or for the Oakland airport) as the result of these experiences.

Geez, Oakland airport and the surrounding areas are what they are. What are you doing in such a place without a car anyway?

You saw a panhandler in Oakland? Really? I suppose you were expecting Vida Blue. Come to think of it I did once see Ralph Sampson in the Oakland Airport reaching for Sports Illustrated.

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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 04:23 PM
  #25  
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I just flew out of OAK, it seemed fine to me. BART does have lousy signage in the stations, but this does not seem to be the problem here.

To the BART employees, it probable seemed unbelieveable that it was beyond the capabilities of the travelers to stick three singles and a couple of quarters in a vending machine. If you stick the money in FIRST, you can buy any value ticket you want. I don't know if they posted a sign on this- I was familiar with the BART machines as the DC system is almost identical. And the BART machines had much. much better onscreen menu options.

Also, BART charges by distance. You HAVE to go throught the turnstile so the system can charge you properly. Entering the system any other way is a big no-no.

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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 08:22 AM
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In all fairness to gailw: I live in Oakland and am a Bay Area native. BART employees will NEVER win prizes for courtesy or helpfulness. While you had to "pay" for the help you received, your best bet for assitance are your fellow riders.

Just yesterday I saw some international travelers confused about determining the fare to a Bay Area city and a local who had just purchased a ticket took the time to show them the fare table and determine their fare and work out the machine (it didn't cost them anything as he wasn't a panhandler).

Seeing BART employees lounge around the "information" booth is all too common. When they go out on strike for higher wages, I do not empapthize with them (and I am a union worker). They make insane amounts of money and what do the riders get? Attitude, rudeness and filthy bathrooms (or no bathrooms at all).

As mentioned in a previous post, experience with a transit system is often the key to a smoother trip.

Note: I was completely thrown by the new ticket machines when they rolled them out. I still get confused sometimes (ha) so you're not alone.

Also: While BART is touted as a connecting transit system for airline travelers, the trains themselves and stations were never modified to handle luggage. That means you have to struggle to get your stuff through the turnstiles (or learn the correct protocol for taking your luggage through the manual gate). You also have to figure out where to stow your luggage on a busy train full of commuters.

Am always glad to see travelers using BART to get to airports - I admire their bravery (ha). And I always make a note to myself what types of bags/luggage they are using (what works/doesn't work) as I will someday be them in another city, attempting to use a confusing transit system.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 08:34 AM
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I just sent a link to this thread to BART, since we, too, have had the same experiences when flying to/from Oakland.

Do you think anyone at BART will care?
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 08:52 AM
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QC, whether believable or not, the employees should help someone having difficulties or suspected difficulties. BART is a service and I'm sure their "official" policy is to help customers.

And as you said, "I don't know if they posted a sign on this- I was familiar with the BART machines as the DC system is almost identical. And the BART machines had much. much better onscreen menu options." So even you admit you learned how to use this system on a better system in DC.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 09:10 AM
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I am sorry to hear you had a difficult time, but Oakland airport isn't as bad as it may appear to be, and BART is like most other underground transportation systems.

I wouldn't let one bad experience totally disuade you from visiting SF.

Maybe it was more a lack of preparation that made things seem so harsh?


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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 09:29 AM
  #30  
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And as you said, "I don't know if they posted a sign on this- I was familiar with the BART machines as the DC system is almost identical. And the BART machines had much. much better onscreen menu options." So even you admit you learned how to use this system on a better system in DC

No, I said the opposite. Reading comprehension- I said that the BART machines had better onscreen menus. The DC system for fares is worse.

the employees should help someone having difficulties or suspected difficulties.

Define "difficulties". The BART employees did show the OP how to purchase fares- use the machines. I doubt BART has the budget to hire workers to escort passengers step-by-step through farecard purchases.

I live in a city where able-bodied adults are expected to be able to figure out how to board the Subway without a personal escort.

BART is a service and I'm sure their "official" policy is to help customers.<i/>

Again, the help should be reasonable.

The OP did not write:

"We told the workers we could not figure out the machine and it was broken"

They wrote:

"but the 3 BART employees lounging in the ticket booth"

Editorializing from moment one, they could have been on a legal break, doing paperwork, or something else. I guess the fact that they didn't use their radar sense and leap up to assist the OP is an impeachable offense.

"gestured toward a machine on a wall when I asked how to purchase the fare we'd need for Embarcadero"

But that is how you purchase tickets to Embarcadero. 99% of customers do not need a manual or personal escort. How do the employees know it's your first day in town? Are they psychic? Lots of locals use OAK.

"and made no attempt to assist us as we tried to figure out the machine which printed the tickets."

Doesn't sound like they asked for help. They expected the employees to run over, I guess.

"There were no directions on how to print the amount of the ticket we needed"

Patently false, I saw instructions on the BART machines. It took me less than a minute to figure out that putting money in first would work.

Also, common sense: don't vending machines usually work by sticking cash in them and then selecting items?


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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 09:55 AM
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I know what the church lady would say to QC:

"Well, aren't you special??"

gailw made a valid complaint, and I for one apprciate it as I'll be heading to Oakland in the near future.

If there are enough passengers having problems that the homeless have learned to earn money helping people decipher the BART machines, there is obviously a problem.

In NYC, and DC both, I've had gate attendants help me with tickets and luggage issues. And no, they didn't pop up out of their cages, they just told me politely how to do it.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 09:58 AM
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Sorry I misunderstood you. I am having much trouble "comprehending" all your type in italics, too. Suffice it to say that many travelers are not familar with BART type transportation systems and it can be quite confusing. I always have a problem blatantly blaming a confused traveler.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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I strongly suggest always bringing cash for the transportation systems...I think no matter what country you are in, there is apt to be more problems with using a cc or atm card in order to buy trans tickets.

The fares for the BART are clearly posted....so I am not sure what the problem was....perhaps the map was confusing? In any case, I still think that perhaps being more prepared would have made the trip better, and aside from a few problems with BART, I don't see the need to count out visiting SF or even using OAK.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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I enjoy flying into and out of Oakland. I do rental cars instead of BART but choose it as an alternative to SF.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 03:15 PM
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One of the plusses of flying out of OAK is the fact that it is generally less crowded, and the parking deals nearby are better...I know different lots where I can park for 7 dollars a day!

The cheapest I have found near SFO is 8 or 9 dollars, and only with a coupon.
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