The Chainlink

Metra's inconsistency makes me want to drive. I can't be the only one?

My family is car-lite. One car. I've been riding Metra for over a year to work and the city for whatnot. Something the entire time has stuck out at me.

I will preface the below with the understanding that I know it's getting better, but that it exists at all is a problem if you support a real workable public transit system.

That said. There's one thing above all others that makes me want to buy a second car and use it. Inconsistency. Let's start with what hits home with the chainlink the most. Bikes.

I can't trust Metra when it comes to bikes. I'm lucky to ride the Rock Island and not have a problem. The conductors are nice. This isn't true across the board though. There's always that idea in the back of my head that I could be denied on a conductor's choice.

I'm ok with the rush hour restrictions. Could they be better? Not having to wait till 7:40 to bring a bike back home. Yes, they could. It's not consistant though. Of course the taste brought this to mind. Bikes are not allowed on the Metra for over a week. If someone were reverse commuting and depended on their bike for the last mile? They are out of luck.

So what's the option? The distances are too great, so you drive. You buy a car and you drive.

Next, the catering to downtown events is ridiculous. Last night I had my bag searched getting on the train after my Python user group meeting. I had an empty glass growler. One I really liked. After arguing and realizing I'm a regular they let me carry it home, but it hammered down an important point. I can't trust taking the Metra. Unless I'm keeping close track of of whatever rules they are deciding to enforce this week. 

Except in very very rare cases, I can get on the CTA and expect the same rules day in and out. It's a real transportation system.

What it seems to come down to is that Metra puts a lot of restrictions into place catering to events to make their lives easier. They could have not have searched bags. They could have just enforced rules about unruliness on the trains, just like any other day.

It seems like Metra if for exactly two groups. Commuters obviously. Then tourists. It's not an alternative transportation system.

End rant. :)

All that said, the seats are really comfy.

Views: 2139

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

what if i had an expensive bomb and i wanted to bring it home? "its not for the train officer, im saving it for later".

 

im joking! but its what came to mind.

i think about foldies all the time.  no, scratch that, i think about em this week and on lolla friday.

Thunder Snow said:

Metra was the determining factor in adding a folder to my bike stable.  If you're at all a multimodal traveler, I recommend it.

Of course there are limits. :)

igz said:

what if i had an expensive bomb and i wanted to bring it home? "its not for the train officer, im saving it for later".

 

im joking! but its what came to mind.

As far as I know bombs aren't legal anywhere.  

Liquor in a sealed container is legal to carry just about anywhere.  The last I heard the 21st is still in effect and the 18th has been repealed. 

What if I had an expensive Bible/Koran and wanted to carry it onto the train?

Headed to Madison-in a car....

Very well-put, James.

David

James BlackHeron said:

+1

Metra is its own worst enemy.  In order to succeed in becoming the GO-TO choice for everyday commuters it has to be an everyday choice for them.  Otherwise, it is just a sometimes thing and those commuters will continue to use other options like driving.  


Metra needs to make itself be the path of least resistance so that people choose it first -rather than being a last-choice thing when other options don't pan out.  But Metra seems to always throw up resistance to letting people ride their option every day rather than break down resistance so that taking Metra would be easy way.   

It's too bad, because until they make themselves the obvious no-brainer choice people are going to continue to drive rather than avail themselves of taking the train.  It's just too much of a bother right now, especially if you are bringing a bike along for last-mile connectivity.   

I wish that WI government didn't have its head up its ass about high speed rail.  I would love to be able to take Amtrak to Madison.  *sigh*

Matt M. said:

Headed to Madison-in a car....

+1

I would have loved to have seen this line built.  But I fear we couldn't have brought our bikes on this train without being boxed anyhow.   It would have been very nice to ride the first/last mile to the stations and taken the train to go take care of my folks in Madison (right on the border of Middleton actually.)    

As it is now Van Galder doesn't allow bikes except for folders and it's a LONG bus ride from Memorial Union all the way out to the 5500-block of University Ave -and an ever longer wait for a bus to come on that route.  By the time I pay for CTA out to O'Hare, VG bus, and Madison Metro Bus both ways I can still drive much cheaper even with $5/gallon gas.  Then again my car has been paid for since 1997 so the costs of ownership have been pretty low.

Anne Alt said:

I wish that WI government didn't have its head up its ass about high speed rail.  I would love to be able to take Amtrak to Madison.  *sigh*

Matt M. said:

Headed to Madison-in a car....


James BlackHeron said:

 

 

As it is now Van Galder doesn't allow bikes except for folders and it's a LONG bus ride from Memorial Union all the way out to the 5500-block of University Ave -and an ever longer wait for a bus to come on that route.  By the time I pay for CTA out to O'Hare, VG bus, and Madison Metro Bus both ways I can still drive much cheaper even with $5/gallon gas.  

 

The Van Galder takes bicycles for a $10 fee. I've done it. It also has rides to/from Union Station in addition to O'hare.

Cesar, agreed. Wish Metra was a real transportation system. Selective enforcement of rules stems from poor leadership at the mgt level

I'm a hug fan of buses and wish there were more BRT systems.

envane x said:

The Van Galder takes bicycles for a $10 fee. I've done it. It also has rides to/from Union Station in addition to O'hare.

I don't even have issue with selective enforcement. It's the changing of the rules. The inconsistency.

If it's Monday, I want to know what to expect. It's ridiculous that I need to check online because of some tourist event.

They change the rules because it's easier than enforcing the normal rules. It's easier to search bags and get rid of any glass than it is to enforce that people don't be rowdy on the train.


burgansbar said:

Cesar, agreed. Wish Metra was a real transportation system. Selective enforcement of rules stems from poor leadership at the mgt level

RSS

© 2008-2016   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C.   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service