BART’s Oakland Airport Connector

BART opened the new BART to OAK service on Saturday, November 22nd, in time for Thanksgiving travel this year. Basically it feels like an airport inter-terminal light rail/train type thing, like AirTrain at SFO or AeroTrain at IAD, only it operates between BART’s Coliseum station and OAK. I have no idea if it’s the same type of rail technology, just saying it feels the same.

When you get off the BART at Coliseum station, you don’t even have to get off the platform. The Connector (I actually am not sure what they’re calling the service so I shall call it the Connector) is on one end of the platform — there are signs pointing towards it. Or you can just follow the people with the luggage; that’s what we did. Then you cross like a covered pedestrian walkway/bridge to the Connector station.

New BART to OAK Airport Connection bridge

Where you exit the BART gates. There’s a $6 surcharge for exiting here, so the fare is however much it is to Coliseum station + $6. The old AirBART shuttle bus service was only $3, but the new service is nicer and faster, so I think it’s worth it. Nicer and faster as in it’s new and there weren’t lines and there was no traffic and whatnot issues.

New BART to OAK Airport Connection entrance/exit

Then you wait on the platform — it was a pretty short wait for us, less than 5 minutes since we were in the peak 8am to 8pm time window.

New BART to OAK Airport Connection platform

Then you get on and I suppose contrary to what I said previously, it’s not exactly like a airport terminal train system because there wasn’t extra space for luggage and you don’t hear messages about setting your luggage brakes to on. But very similar. :)

BART to OAK Connection train

The ride took longer than I thought, perception-wise. It was shorter than the shuttle ride for sure, but there was a short stop in the middle of it — it happened on the way there and on the way back, so I guess it’s just a part of the trip. You’re not allowed to get off or anything but it does look like a spot where a maintenance or emergency crew could get on. I don’t know why the train has to stop at all; it wasn’t explained. Also the trip felt like it was winding around a bit. But then you get stopped off near the parking lot at Oakland Airport between Terminals 1 and 2. You have to cross lanes of traffic to get to the actual terminal, further out than the old location where the AirBART used to drop off. I wish they’d built it to just outside the terminals, but really it’s not a big deal. Just if they were going to build a whole new system, and you have to escalator down to the ground anyway, why not skip having pedestrians with luggage going across traffic? I don’t know.

This is the view of the station on the way back. You get in and pay your fare and don’t need your BART or Clipper card until you get to your destination station.

New BART to OAK Airport Connection

Overall, pretty nice! After BART went directly to SFO, directly into the International Terminal, we started to use SFO a lot more. Even though the ride was pricy, it was convenient. Now OAK has something pretty equivalent. I only had two things to even sort of complain about (the weird random stop/pause and that it doesn’t let off closer to the terminals), neither of which are deal breakers. So yay:)

Meeting the Cat

We met Whitlow the grumpy cat today! Holy wow look at this face.
He’s giving Hellspawn a run for his money.

Why so serious?
Well, if I’m going to be completely unbiased, Whitlow might have him beat in the grumpy look department.

On a Jet Plane

I’m on an airplane, getting free internet. Pretty cool, eh? It’s a Virgin America/Google deal — now through January 15, free wifi on flights. And it’s at least as good as my sister’s DSL service!

Worst Evar

It was the worst weekend of card playing ever. I was thinking of trying to use the quote from Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” but dude, it wasn’t the best of times at all; I lost at cards to everyone! Not that I was always last, but I never won.

I lost to K at Scotch Bridge or Up and Down the River or Oh Heaven, Oh Hell (whatever that game is called), then to Mike at Napoleon, then to Yuli at Napoleon. All the young’uns are growing up and I’m growing old. I probably only didn’t lose to Jimyo cos he was playing Block Party and Plants vs. Zombies and other video games for part of the time. Gaaaaah.

Speaking of Plants vs. Zombies, I think it’s been a hit with the whole family. We’ve played a LOT of Plants vs. Zombies. :) Worthy buy at ~$20.

Hitting Up All of Her Fave Tourist Traps

My sister and mother are visiting this weekend. They got in last night after a bit of a nightmarish plane ride (skipping the grisly details, basically it was delayed flight, missed connection, lost luggage). So we take them to a good Mexican place that’s walking distance from home and the little motel/inn they’re staying at, and we all eat too much. Still no good random Mexican places in the DC area that we know of; taking suggestions. Although to be honest, for myself personally, when I’m visiting the DC area, I eat lots of Asian food, especially Chinese food, and I’m fine with that. And I don’t mean orange chicken, which is like Chinese American food, which is good in its own way but it’s not Chinese food.

Leaning Way Out of the StreetcarToday, we BARTed to San Francisco and got tea lattes at Coffee Bean, cos of course, why wouldn’t I?! Then we rode the trolley which dude, it’s gone up in price: $5 one way now. I dunno though, it’s darned worth it for a visitor, I think. Okay, I live in the Bay Area, I’ve been on it multiple times, and I still enjoyed myself immensely. :) Then we walked to Pier 39 and had some clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl — not bad, not awesome, darned filling. Then we shopped for souvenirs and looked at the sea lions. Then we rode the bus to the Ferry Building (Pier 2 area) and walked all over, stopping at like every shop, bought some cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, ate some gelato. Then we get out of the Ferry Building and there’s stalls outside! So we walk all around them. Then finally back to Berkeley in time to get ready for dinner at Chez Panisse, always excellent. Aaaaaand by the way, all the shopping and dinner was my family’s treat. YESSSSSS! I mean, thanks guys. Oh and the weather was basically perfect all day. And we played a few rounds of a variation of Sevens called Jielong or as K and Pol like to call it, Jello. Actually I don’t know who made up the “Jello” name, but I first heard it from K and Pol, and now we all call it Jello if we’re not talking to the parents. And now I should get ready for bed cos we are going to walk around Berkeley tomorrow (well today now) and go to the farmers’ market, which knowing Leaf, means going up and down the block a whole bunch of times. Or at least definitely more than once. :)

Succumbing to Peer Pressure

Okay okay, it’s really more like I was encouraged to get off my butt, but whatever! The point is, I’ve finally finished uploading photos from last year. What? No pat on back? :p

I think it’s pretty representative of what we did. Lessee, there was a big Christmas Eve dinner with the extended family, including some Wii and some Taboo and some cards (of course), there was birthday party for misa, there was a lot of eating, more games, sister got her ears pierced, etcetc. About the only thing not covered was the shopping. CT kept taking us shopping and somehow we ended up closing down multiple malls on multiple days. Honestly, she’s talented. I just started to whine and talk about how I’d rather just steal her stuff. (“Bad sister!”)

Long Day

Our flight yesterday was at 7am, and of course for one reason or another (one reason is my sister; another reason is my cousins, damn them — I’m a 9-hours-a-night-would-be-nice kinda girl) I didn’t sleep much the whole weekend. And there was a time zone change. So you know what happened? I ate 4 meals and napped all day: breakfast a little before 7 (a breakfast sandwich from Potbelly Sandwich Works, quite good), then napped on the plane, then ate lunch (sandwich from Potbelly Sandwich Works, good but omg don’t get hot peppers if you’re not gonna eat the sandwich right away because the hot pepper flavor soaked in), then slept more (if you’re tired enough sleeping on the plane is easy peasy!), then got back home and picked up lunch, then slept, then woke up started unpacking and whatnot, then got hungry again at like 9pm, so we went and picked up a medium pizza and ate the whole thing, then played with the computer, then went back to bed. Sounds healthy, no? :p

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