Teenagers getting nailed

June 24, 2008 at 4:09 am 1 comment

Yesterday I took Caltrain to San Francisco. The train was a few minutes late already before arriving at Redwood City. At the station, I saw some teenagers buying tickets on the other side of the tracks. Just as the northbound train was pulling into the station, they finally bought their tickets and tried to run pass the lowered crossing gates at the north end of the platform. Finally, a sheriff deputy got off his SUV parked nearby and caught them at the gate.

Teenagers getting nailed

Of course the deputy had been waiting for that moment. These teenagers could have waited another 10 seconds for the gates to go up. Typically trains don’t leave the station that quick. Instead these teenagers miss their train and probably each received a $271 ticket.

As much as I feel bad for them for receiving pricey tickets, it is the same carelessness that have ended many lives and caused many delays.

Even with the enforcement, I think Caltrain can do more to discourage people from crossing the tracks illegally. At Redwood City, the ticket machines are located at the center of each platforms, but people can only cross the tracks at each end of the station. If there’s a pedestrian tunnel at the station, or ticket machines located closer to the crossings, people wouldn’t have to walk so far between the ticket machines and the platforms. Clearly a pedestrian tunnel is the best as it would eliminate the need for anyone to walk across the tracks.

To avoid getting a ticket, you should not cross the tracks once the bells sound, even before gates drop. I know a Caltrain advocate who tried to do so but got a ticket. He later fought it in court but was unsuccessful. Legally, there’s no such “yellow light phase.”


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Caltrain-Engr  |  June 24, 2008 at 4:51 am

    Agreed Andy. Caltrain could definitely improve things by not only repositioning the TVMs at many stations, but by adding MORE of them as well. Ridership is growing so quickly that there simply aren’t enough ticket machines at some of the statiions to allow people to catch their trains unless they show up 10-15 minutes before departure, especially on days when the Giants are playing. Blasting through San Carlos at 79mph on a Baby Bullet is no fun when there are hoards of people massed around the TVMs, standing on the wrong side of the yellow line. As for “wait for the gate” enforcement, I’m all for it. I have had way too many close calls (and one fatality) resulting from people ignoring crossing gates. Whenever there is an enforcement “blitz”, people tend to behave themselves — for a while.


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June 2008
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