Column: No sleep till Claremont: a Carmageddon tale

Wednesday’s column (read it here) is about two trips to L.A. via public transit that I took last weekend, one of which went awry. Hope my tale doesn’t dissuade anyone from riding the rails or buses, but it was too much of an adventure not to share, especially since it fell on Carmageddon weekend.

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  • Joanne Dallas

    Oh, joy. We were at the opera together on Sunday. Impressive hellfire was worth the wait. We drove in precisely because we wanted to see the whole performance and there is no way to make the 5:30 train. Just moving the time to 6 or 6:15 would do it. Don’t the train people talk to the opera people?

    [Well, I wouldn't expect them to change the schedule just for the occasional opera conflict. But the time gap between the 5:30 train and the 9 p.m. train is large enough (especially given there's a train at 4) that seemingly they could bump the train back, or add one at 7 next time they add service. -- DA]

  • Joanne Dallas

    I left off a comment on how much I enjoy your train and bus adventures. You are a true green man.

    [I try. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    David, I have had dozens of adventures, since I’ve been riding the Metrolink rails for about 20 years–but I never had one like yours.

    I went, “crazy”, right off the bat to read that you saw, “Rodriguez”–OMG, you saw, “Rodriguez”! I bet you were looking at your watch all night, knowing that you had to make those trains. A “saving grace” is that you were not alone. Mustard was the least of it–”yeh”, it doesn’t come out. I’m glad for you, that you had a day between that adventure and the Opera day. The Opera sounds great.

    I too rode the rails on Carmaggedon weekend–of course, you know I would have. I went to the Pantages for a show. I came in contact with two people who were riding the rails for the first time. When I boarded the Red Line about noon on Sat., there was standing-room only by the time we got to the third stop. Riding back to Union Station that late-afternoon, I had a conversation with a woman who lives in Pasadena, never used the Gold Line, and was there because she was reluctant to drive in, due to Carmaggedon. Once we got to Union Station, she was lost, and I was there to show her where to get back on the Gold Line. Wouldn’t that have been something, if she had an adventure like yours!

    “Searching for Sugar Man”:

    I had just seen the movie at the Laemmle, last week, and I went to Rhino right away for the soundtrack CD–they were sold out. Then I went to Best Buy and got the one copy they had on the rack. I have been playing it over and over, and will until I get tired of it. What a talent who never had the fame he deserved! (A disclaimer on my CD jacket emphasizes that Rodriquez is getting a royalty from my purchase.)

    The movie made it obvious that he is very eccentric–you certainly found out how eccentric! After the movie, I felt very angry at the record producers who never marketed him, and more, extremely angry at the record company that pocketed the money that should have gone to support him and his family. It may be that those producers found him so difficult to handle they couldn’t face it. It certainly is a true story that is stranger than fiction. So sad that the world was deprived of Rodriguez for 50 years until someone cared enough to find him again. If those records had ended up in any country other than South Africa, during that time, the world would have known about him.

    Glad you are safe and sound, David.

    [Thanks, Shirley. I hoped my adventure was weird enough to be column-worthy, and if you've never had anything even close to that happen, then perhaps it was. (I was also hoping enough people had seen "Sugar Man" to make my concert experience of interest.) Actually, I wasn't worried about the timing until after the show, when I realized that making it back to Union Station was going to be tougher than expected. As for rail newbies, I always help people who ask and I think that's true of most rail passengers. Just ask, someone will answer. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    The power-brokers that be, are always telling us that they do surveys and talk to the customers to help determine their policies–having no Sunday night train departure from Union Station between 5:30 and 9:00 p.m. is craziness. Customers could not have directed that one. The prior departure time, that I used often on Sundays, was 7:00 p.m., which made going to the theater matinees, etc. very doable.

    It reminds me of ads I used to see in the “Metrolink Matters” prior to the current 11:00 p.m. departure times from Union Station, that offered live theater, night-time, mid-week coupons to Metrolink riders, when there were no trains leaving Union Station after 9:00 p.m.

    [If there's only going to be one train after 5:30 p.m. on a Sunday, I prefer the current 9 p.m. to the previous 7 p.m. It puts the last train closer to the 11 or 11:30 p.m. departure time of other nights, and with a last train at 7 p.m., having dinner in L.A. was impossible unless you ate an early-bird special. Until they have trains every hour, someone's always going to be inconvenienced. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    You have a point. The 9:00 p.m. gives time for dinner. The 5:30 p.m. time does not even give the theater-goer time to see the show and get to the train–seems like a schedule that is useless, unless people are spending their time solely at Olvera Street. When I had a group before, and we went to a Sunday matinee, we had lunch first. I am grateful though, for the current 11:00 p.m. weeknight schedules–I have no knowledge about the ridership numbers. I attended a couple Friday night shows at CA Plaza this summer–not possible before, when the last departure time was 9:00 p.m.