The Compiler Team's Transportation Round-up

Our favorite transit stories from the past year By The Compiler Team

I won’t speak for all of my Compiler colleagues, but I will say that 100% of us think that public transportation is important. Shoot, did I just speak for all of my colleagues? Oh well. Public transportation is a vital community service; it’s good for our communities and our earth. It’s one of the most convenient, affordable, and efficient ways of shuffling people through their lives. So, like I said, we think public transportation is important; but we also know it to be occasionally frustrating, sometimes surprising, often exciting, and at times, an all-around adventure. So, we took some time to reflect on our most notable transit adventures from the past year. Read on for a few of the Compiler team’s recent travel stories.

Watercolor illustration of Jessica Sullivan Jess

I took my two COVID babies on public transit for the first time! We took a round-trip journey on the San Diego trolley to Old Town and enjoyed a really amazing sunset over Mission Bay on the way home. They thought it was the coolest “choo choo” in the world.

Watercolor illustration of Machiko Yasuda Machiko

I love taking the Hollywood Bowl Park & Ride bus - I took it exactly four times last year during the summer Bowl season. The ticket buying process is seamless – you buy a ticket online as you are buying your Bowl tickets. There are 14 Park & Ride bus stops all over L.A. County, from Torrance, Chatsworth, Pasadena and more. On your concert date at the shuttle time, you show your e-ticket to the friendly attendants at the bus stop and get in the bus. The staff at the Bowl always provide services for those with disabilities, and they make sure you find your bus on the way home. I would definitely go to more concerts and venues if they had the same kind of Park & Ride shuttle service like the Bowl’s.

Watercolor illustration of Olivia Ramacier Olivia

BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) officially had all service running on new train cars, retiring all old train cars. The new train cars are so clean and much quieter than the old cars, making for a much more enjoyable rider experience. They started phasing in new cars in 2018, and the primary line I ride has had a mix of old/new cars in service over the last few years, so I never quite knew if I would be riding an old or new car until it showed up. I was very excited when the last new car was put into service. And it looks like BART managed to complete this project well under budget! Kudos to them!

Watercolor illustration of Shelby Miller Shelby

Remember when we said public transportation can occasionally be frustrating–yeah. Transit fails are also worth reminiscing on.

In July, I got on the wrong bus multiple times in LA, and once ended up in maybe Chinatown? I gave up and called a Lyft. I also, at one point, was on the phone with our colleague Kegan while literally running to catch the (wrong) DASH bus at the big train station.

Another transit fail, though not our fault: after a Jimmy Eat World concert at the Greek Theater, Kegan, his wife Sevil, and I waited at a bus stop for 20+ minutes before deciding that the bus was NOT coming despite saying it was, and we walked however long, like 25 minutes, to Sevil’s car. That isn’t a great story on its own, but it’s meaningful in my collection of 2023 transit fails.

A favorite transit non-fail is waking up with my kids at 3am PT (6am ET) while in Sacramento, and at 4am, deciding that we needed to leave our apartment as to not wake everyone else in the building, so I put them in the stroller and we walked around Sac in the dark, and got to watch the Sac RT trains, which the kids loved. They got really good at spotting them and shouting “TRAINNNNN!” when they saw them.

Watercolor illustration of Kegan Maher Kegan

I rode the local T1 train line in the greater Sydney, Australia region so much in December 2023 (really only 3 weeks out of the month) that I reached the #1 position in Transit App for that line for the month!

Watercolor illustration of Sarah Henry Sarah

Over the winter holiday, my side of the family all decided to meet in Tampa, Florida. To get there from Ft. Lauderdale, I took a train with my then four-month old, Stetson. We had a coach seat on the way there, but on the way back we upgraded to a roomette that ended up being an amazing way to travel with a baby. Stetson spent a lot of time immersed in the honored tradition of watching the world go by. He took a nap in my arms during lunch in the dining car and played with some toys after we converted the roomette from seats to a bed. His stroller just fit on the top bunk. We rolled back into Ft. Lauderdale ready for bedtime.

Watercolor illustration of Vyki Englert Vyki

Last but not least, welcome to Vyki’s Taiwan Corner

Vyki spent some time last year traveling through Taiwan by bike, train, and bus. She collected a list of her favorite aspects of Taiwan transportation so that we can all be inspired.

  • The local and local express trains show which stops they will make on an LED signboard
  • Automatic Books Stop! Like a mini fully automated library vending machine in the transit station
  • Highspeed train: not only does the train go fast but painted numbered lines on the station floor allow passengers to line up so that the total time in station for disembarking and boarding is 90 SECONDS
  • Cute transit swag vending machines
  • The local subway in Taipei, shows a blinking LED on a map above the door as the subway moves from stop to stop
  • Real-time signage at bus stops
  • VERY fast internet on the local train
  • YouBike bike share
  • Toilets for everybody
  • Real-time GTFS? How about Real-time train station bathroom occupancy
BTS train driving over a bridge in Taiwan with the city in the background
BTS train driving over a bridge in Taiwan with the city in the background. Photograph by Vyki Englert.
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