Putting the Tripmaster to the Test

Thursday, January 27, 2005, at 06:40PM

By Eric Richardson

So despite the fact that I pointed out so many flaws with the MTA's new TripMaster, I still have to use it to plan getting places. Tomorrow I have to get to work, and the front tire on my bike's a little too flat for that to be an option. It's some funky thin connector, too, so I need to get an adaptor for that before I can fill it up. So that means tomorrow will be a 100% transit trip. Aside from a really tight Pasadena connection, it doesn't look that bad. Despite that, I think it's fair for me to take a few more swings at Tripmaster woes.

So I go to the site, type in my start, destination, etc. I tell it I want to be there at 9am, and leave the default selection of "Any Mode."

The TripMaster gives me a two bus route that takes one hour and nine minutes.

See, the thing is that rail isn't actually including in "Any." To get a rail option you have to manually select "include Rail" instead of assuming that "Any Mode" actually includes stuff besides buses.

So if I go back and tell it that I want rail, I get a trip that includes the Red Line, the Gold Line, and bus 177, and yet the total time is just 45 minutes.

The connection times, though, are a little fishy. The Red Line train's supposed to get into Union Station at 7:48, and the Gold Line leaves at 7:51. Now I know that in theory they time it to let you make the transfer, but I don't tend to trust theory.

So clicking on Other Trips I get a different combination. This time it's bus 83 (or 84... or 85...) to Chinatown, and then the Gold Line to Pasadena (and again the 177). This time the layover is a few more minutes, and instead of having to walk all the way to 5th and Hill the bus stops right on my corner.

The other tight bit is the Pasadena connection. The timetable has the Gold Line into Del Mar at 8:14 and the 177 leaving at 8:15. Again I think they might theoretically coordinate, but that still makes me nervous when the next 177 isn't until 9:08.

Tomorrow will be another of those fun learning experiences. I'm excited about getting a chance to read on the train, though, and actually a little excited to not have to worry about unobtrosively having my bike on the train.