BART thoughts

  • People have been asking me why I don't drive, which shows that they haven't considered the question. In dollar terms it's not that much more expensive than driving ($11 vs. $8 or so), and when I take BART I gain an hour and twenty minutes of Internet-free reading time. If my time's worth $17 an hour, then I'm gaining around $22 every day by riding BART. Plus I just don't have that many good podcasts and I hate sitting in traffic. I don't think people seriously consider the effects of having someone else drive you places; it frees up all of that time you would have spent behind the wheel. This is a reason for government-subsidized public transit that I hadn't considered before.
  • BART riders are amazingly literate; pretty much everyone reads books, newspapers or Kindle. The rest play games on a smartphone or text. Forget about asking whether Google will save newspapers, ask whether BART will. It's a great place to pick up girls.
  • If I make a website with really bad usability, like you can't even figure out where the "Add to Cart" button is or learn what the product does, then it'll hurt my bottom line, because users won't spend time trying to figure out how to use it, they'll just use a different website to get their shopping done. If the government makes something with bad usability, so that you're confused about what is and isn't legal, their profits go up, not down, because they get to fine everyone that didn't figure it out. This is onerous and gives the government totally perverse incentives; adding a usability-clarifying sign might cost them $200,000 in revenue. Avoid lock-in whenever you can.
  • When I'm parking I have a simple heuristic that gets me the best spot, every time: I go up and then park in the first available spot. Minimizing driving time is smarter than minimizing walking time. Plus it takes the stress out of trying to find a spot that's closest to the stairs. So from now on, simple rule; park in the first spot you see.
  • Also, always buy your ticket for the next day, or next week, when you're leaving BART at night. You're less stressed then than in the morning, and there's no crowd around the ticket machines.
Last but not least, never run for trains.

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