Derek has been taking the metro rail to school. Today was the first day that we both rode it together.
It is not at all what I was expecting. My only experience with public transportation has been in Washington D.C. and I suppose I expected it to be like that: very large train stations.
However, the stations are more like small bus stops. There are no workers around to help you, which Derek discovered when he accidentally took the wrong train twice his first day. (Don’t worry, he has since figured it out.)
Fare is $1.25 one way. Derek has a student fare card that drops the price to .60 cents one way. The fare seems to be on the honor system though. Like I said, no workers at the stations or on the trains (there is only the driver from the looks of it) so no one is around to check your tickets. I looked into this a bit more, and there are random fare checks at some stations. I am sure there are people out there that try their luck from time to time at this, but best to just pay your fare just on the off hand chance you do get caught. Not worth the citation fee.
A downside to the train stations being so small is that there are no parking lots nearby. (Maybe there are at some stations, but not the ones near our apartment.) So I have to drive Derek to the station in the mornings for school and pick him back up when he’s done. This probably won’t work forever, depending on what type of job schedule I get. The station closest to us is a 25 minute walk according to Google Maps, five minute drive. Derek might have to get a bicycle to make it easier. I guess if you’re not close to a train station then you’re SOL.
We did figure out today that if there is a time (like today) when we both want to ride the metro together, we can park at a nearby plaza parking lot, and walk 10 minutes to a station from there. Not too bad.
As for the train itself, it is rather small, two compartments long. It seemed to be very clean inside. Trains on the main red line run about every six minutes on the weekdays, and every 17 minutes on the extended purple and green lines. Derek has to transfer to the purple line to get to the university.
The metro rail is just one new thing for us to get used to having around, but we’re adjusting and figuring it out.