Sitting and Waiting and Sitting and Waiting...

Monday, February 28, 2005, at 07:11AM

By Eric Richardson

It took me a little over two hours to get to work today. The Gold Line is still feeling the effects of the weather and running a questionable temporary schedule which threw me off for my connection to the 50-minute headways on the 177. This is more proof that my route is far too fragile. You may or may not remember that largely the same thing happened to me back in January. I've got a lot to rant about, but I'll throw that in the body so that you can skip it if you're not that interested in transit.

The Gateway Transit Center brick work continued today. They look to be replacing a good chunk of those end turnaround bricks.

I got to the Gold Line only to find that a train was pulling away as I made the top of the steps. A handmade sign posted on the little break room for operators told of the temporary schedule, running trains every twenty minutes. I sat down in the idling train to wait my time. The operator walked in, so I talked to him for a minute. I asked how long he expected this schedule to continue, but he didn't know. He noted that the schedule was inconveniencing everyone, even the operators. He wondered how running one track by an unsafe area was any better than running two; if the hill's going to slide that eight feet you gain by being in the southbound track isn't going to get you a lot more safety.

The temporary schedule doesn't just affect the headways; run speeds were also drastically reduced. The Gold Line has enough issues with speed as it is, it really doesn't need to work any harder at crawling into stations. My favorite was when we had to accelerate entering a stations just to get the train to the other side of the platform.

But we made Memorial Park roughly when the temporary schedule said we should: 9:58 or so. According to the 177's schedule, that's the time at which it should be leaving Del Mar & Raymond, three-quarters of a mile or so to the south. I hurried up the stairs and over to Raymond, but no sight of the little 177. So I called my mom, talked for a while, played 18 holes of golf on my phone, and then finally the next 177 came at 10:55.

The ride on those little buses is worse than attrocious. I don't know if they're just sprung really tight or what, but they bounce around far worse than any school bus when they get onto the 210. One of the windows was rattling so hard I thought it might just work its way right out of the bus. I've previously determined that it's impossible to read on that bus -- you can't keep the book steady enough to focus on it -- but today I decided it was bad enough that you'd be hard-pressed to even carry on a phone call.

Finally I made it to work at 11:10. By that point I decided I might as well just go straight to the cafeteria and get lunch.