Thursday, July 24, 2008

How to pay $5.90 to park at BART (and have fun doing it)

So, I needed to get to work in Berkeley one morning, but also needed to take BART into the City in the afternoon.

My friend Paul was also driving to Berkeley, so I thought I'd park at the Lafayette BART and then hitch a ride with him. Then I could retrieve my car on the way home in the evening, via BART.

Good plan, right?

First of all, I discovered that you have to pay $1 to park at Lafayette BART. No problem. Then I found that the parking passes are sold INSIDE the station. Cool. So I bought a $5 ticket. But then I thought, "I can't use my ticket just to exit again. That would be a waste of money!" So I walked through the non-ticket "disabled person" gate... and was immediately stopped by BART security.

"Do you have a ticket?"

Me, with absolute brain shutdown, just staring back at her.


"Are you riding BART today?"

"Yes, I am."

"Do - you - have - a -"

"Yes," I say, producing said ticket from shirt pocket. I continue to stare at her, putting on my very best, "I don't know what to do and I'm trying not to cry. Please help me" face.

She explains how to use the ticket gate to me, which I proceed to do. I then buy my $1 parking pass.

Now I am standing inside the Lafayette BART station like Borat on his arrival in America... All I lacked was the chicken under my arm. Meanwhile, Paul is outside, waiting for me in his sweet Pontiac rental car... Time stands still.

One minute goes by. Two minutes... I am weighing my options...
  1. Get on BART and ride to Bekeley. (F*ck Paul).
  2. Bust out through the same "disabled person" gate and jump into the rolling getaway car while BART security runs after us.
  3. Exit through the ticketed gate, like a normal person (with the world's shortest commute).
I chose option 3.

Apparently, such short commutes are anathema to BART, because they charged me $4.90 for the trip. Add that to the $1 to park....

And THAT, folks, is how you pay $5.90 to park at BART (and have fun doing it).