(Actually I'm outside of the library, because they don't open til noon on tuesdays--and I've already seen half a dozen people turn back disappointedly in the ten minutes I've been here. Anyway, the signal strength is not great, but I'm getting through, and there's a decent shady spot where I can see my screen ok).
It's a bit of a wait til the next train, and this has me thinking about something I've mused over before--why should you have to adjust your schedule to fit the train's? Why can't they just run trains often enough that you can just show up when you want, and expect one to come along in a few minutes?
This is not just an issue for slackers like me. For a lot of people with regular, non-dot-com jobs, this makes or breaks transit as a practical means of getting to work at all. If you're supposed to clock in a 9:00 am, a train that gets you there at 8:40 means you're wasting 20 minutes of your day, and if you take a train that gets you there at 9:20 too many times in a row, you're fired!
CalTrain operates lots of trains, but with all their specialized schedule types--locals, expresses and baby bullets, and mixed express/locals--maybe they're spreading themselves too thin. There are two big plusses to this approach--there are both fast trains for people going long distances, and closely spaced stops for people making shorter jaunts. Most transit systems only provide one type of service or another, with "commuter rail" (think Metrolink, ACE, Capitol Corridor) on one extreme and typical light rail systems on the other. Some systems, like BART, go for speed in the burbs and closely spaced stops in the city, a reasonable compromise.
CalTrain tries to offer both types of service throughout it's entire length, which is a good objective, but service frequency--and the railway's usefulness--suffers for it.
Well, I've killed enough time to head back to the station now!