Thursday, August 17, 2006

Family Fun on BART and Muni

Monday was a day full of transit adventures.

Our basic objective was the California Academy of Sciences, where my mother is a volunteer docent. The academy, while it's usual digs in Golden Gate Park are being rebuilt from the ground up, has set up shop South of Market. The temporary location is actually quite a bit easier to get to by transit, being a quick walk from Powell & Market, or a slightly longer one from 4th & King. We set out from Millbrae BART (I advise parking on the 4th floor of the garage, since that puts you on the same level as the station mezzanine).

Meanwhile, more of our family were over in Berkely, visiting the Cal campus. The night before I worked out an itinerary for them, starting at Daily City, where they could catch a Richmond line train directly. They could have started at Millbrae, but would have needed to change trains twice--and those timed transfers at 12th St. Oakland are not something you should send BART newbies through without supervision! After the tour, we all met up downtown in the City.

We started our trip home on the J Church, stopping at Mitchell's Ice Cream (see "Where to Eat", below), and transferring back to BART at Balboa Park.

Overall, things went surprisingly smoothly. Here's some more specific observations:

  • One member of our party uses a wheelchair. BART and the Muni Metro Subway, with their high level platforms, are basically 100% accessible. You do have to go a long ways around to get to elevators at some stations. On Muni Metro surface lines, select stops have small but workable ramps and platforms squeezed into the passenger waiting islands. It takes some careful work by operators to make sure everything works, but the ones we rode with were quite conscientious about making sure we all got on and off safely.
  • BART theoretically has discount tickets for kids and seniors, but you can't buy them at stations, either from vending machines or station agents. You're supposed to get them in supermarkets. That sucks.
  • Muni was punctual, but BART slowed way down south of Balboa Park. Go figure.

Learning about rocks

Riding the J Church

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