Please send messages/announcements to Dan Kirshner.
January 10, 2013. Strange-acting rider - North Berkeley
On Tuesday around 6:55, I was a driver and the second car in line when a man came to my car, ignoring the first car. (I drive a two-seater auto). When he opened my door I asked why he jumped over the first car and he put up his hands and said nervously and defensively, "hey, there's no problem here" and then repeated that. Instead of going to the first car, he walked away from the casual carpool toward BART. I thought this was unusual and scary. I'm relatively new to the casual carpool, so I when I picked up a passenger yesterday (a long-time rider) I described the man to her and she said she didn't recognize his description as a morning regular to the carpool line. This man was a tall, medium built, African American man wearing a knit cap/beanie. I'm guessing he was in his 40's. He was not carrying a bag. If I was the first car in line I would not have questioned him getting into my car, but this interaction seemed odd and I wanted to let others know.
November 15, 2012. North Berkeley car without FasTrak
I wanted to report a car today where the people did not have a FasTrak pass so I had to sit while they waited in the long toll line. It was an off white old Mercedes. Man and woman in the car when they picked up. It took 20 plus more minutes than usual to get to work. On top of all that, it stunk like smoke.
It would be cool if people could sign up for alerts keyed to their pick up spot so for instance, I could get alerts related to N. Berkeley drivers.
No FasTrak: That happened to me as a passenger once -- the driver had left his FasTrak in another car -- and I was very annoyed (and late for work). I'm even more annoyed now that I've found that if you drive through without your FasTrak nothing happens; they bill you as usual via your license plate. So it was a completely unnecessary waste of 20+ minutes!
Alerts: That's a good idea. A Twitter account? An email / distribution list on this site?
July 26, 2012. Monte Vista, Oakland Irrational Driver
Gunmetal grey BMW (I think it was 5 series, maybe a 7 series), driver Eastern European/Russian. In his 40s, maybe, with glasses and milky yellow plastic frames. While driving on S-curve in left lane, he is checking his phone. I ask if he can not “play with phone while driving”. He proceeds to get irrational, cursing, mumbling about how I should not tell him what to do in his car because he doesn’t tell me what to do in my own home, how people are in this country, about my lack of graduation from “charm school”, etc. I point out it is illegal to effectively be playing with phone while driving. He says he doesn’t care about legality and continues to mumble/curse thru drop-off on Howard Street while I continue to ignore him/not engage further. I thank him for the ride, and get out of the car. At this time I mention to the passenger who was in the back that I am sorry if I made it awkward. He indicates it wasn’t a big deal. I do not look back, but we hear the driver of the car yelling at us to the effect of “is there a problem?” and we’ve got to be 15 feet away from him by this point.
If I am in the wrong regarding asking a driver to not be touching their phone while driving me, my bad.
But the way he kept mumbling, equating me looking at my phone as a passenger with a driver glancing down at the phone in his left hand, on a bridge, in the left lane of a reduced speed curve and his utter outrage and entitlement to do whatever he wants while driving [strangers] in his car was absurd. Further, continuing to yell at me/us (passengers) as we are already out of the car on Howard Street, walking our separate ways, made me question whether he remotely had a sense of responsibility for driving safely in carpool.
I will not ride with this man again. He really didn’t drive recklessly, but his completely irrational response and continued irrationality about the situation was off-putting enough that I am writing my first email to Casual Carpool after riding for over four-and-a-half years.
July 2, 2012. Perkins/Grand Dangerous Driver
Dangerous Driver Alert – Perkins/Grand Ave Oakland pickup spot
Nissan Pathfinder SUV -- Color: Grey, New Model Vehicle -- Please note : Vehicle does not have a rear license plate (auto dealership ad in license plate space)
I would urge carpool passengers at the Perkins/Grand Avenue Oakland pickup spot to avoid this vehicle -- Nissan Pathfinder SUV, new model, color is gray. Driver is male, early 30s, stocky build with short dark hair. Please note: there was no rear license plate on the vehicle (Nissan auto dealership ad was in the license plate spot); a distinguishing feature inside the vehicle is a "Class of '96" graduation tassel hanging from the rearview mirror. Driver picked up me and two other passengers from the Perkins/Grand Ave Oakland pickup spot on the morning of Monday, July 2nd 2012 and proceeded to rapidly accelerate through the Adams Point neighborhood short-cut to I-580; I knew right away that we we're in for a dangerous ride. Driver made a hazardous merge onto I-580, tailgating the car in front of us and rapidly changing lanes. Driver continued to speed and drive erratically. Heading into the MacArthur Maze he was driving so fast that I requested he slow down. After passing through the Bay Bridge tollbooth the driver sped to the metering lights, deliberately cutting off the driver in the neighbouring right-hand (non carpool) lane. Driver then rapidly accelerated from the metering light and aggressively split two lanes to overtake the vehicles on both sides of us, nearly causing a 3-car collision. The passenger seat rider asked why the driver was speeding and driving so erratically and the driver began making excuses that the other cars cut him off (not true) and then stated: "I've been driving for a very long time and you don't need to tell me what to do". At this point I asked the driver if he regularly picked up riders at the casual carpool, he replied "no". I informed him that as a carpool driver he has a responsibility to drive cautiously with passengers and in return enjoys a reduced toll and the time saving benefit of access to the commuter lanes. I informed him that he'd been driving dangerously during the entire ride and that I would be reporting him on the Casual Carpool message board. I've commuted from this pickup spot regularly for the past seven years and this is the first time I've been truly frightened and felt the need to warn other passengers. There's no excuse for this kind of unsafe driving. Everyone be safe out there!
June 28, 2012. Pierce St. Dangerous Driver
PD wrote:Dangerous Driver – White Tour Bus Van.
Drives a white tour bus van. I believe it has tinted windows and says "Spanish and Italian Tours" on the side. He is middle-aged, European-looking male who is a very aggressive driver who weaves in and out of traffic. Also, he checks his cell phone a lot and even text-messages/reads while driving fast in the carpool lane. Also he is impolite and tries to “steal passengers” walking to the passenger pick-up on Pierce St even if there are numerous cars waiting. He drives a tour bus van that typically heads to Downtown (Union Square). He once did not drop people off in the right spot and made people walk from 3rd/Howard. He is also very impatient with traffic and constantly honks at cars that aren’t driving as “aggressively" as he is. Please be careful! The other passenger and I couldn’t help but worry about our lives!!
June 13, 2012. Avoid Park Blvd Driver
Avoid Driver w/ 1992 Gray 2 Seater
Oakland Park Blvd and Hollywood 8:10 a.m. Wednesday June 13th
Car was driven by a man in his mid 50s. Car is a small gray two seater with a pickup truck bed in the back. The driver had the back window removed from the vehicle. The driver was extremely strange and began swearing when I pulled out my cell phone to check email messages. He began swearing at me and yelling at the top of his lungs for me to put it away. When I told him that I didn't feel safe and wanted to get out of the car, he yelled even more and didn't want to let me out. Then he slammed on the brakes and told me to get the F out of his car and then kept driving after I opened up the door. Then after I got out he circled back around and yelled at me from the street. PLEASE AVOID THIS DRIVER.
April 9, 2012. Vallejo aggressive passenger
I have been living in Vallejo and picking up passengers at the Park 'n' Ride at Lemon Street in Vallejo for almost two years. This is the first time I have had to ask a passenger NEVER get in my car again. Today a Caucasian man in late 40s, brownish red hair, about 180 pounds, glasses, white painter pants and a plaid work shirt got in my car; we got onto the freeway and everything was going fine until I went to pass a car that was going 55 in a 65 zone with absolutely no one in front of him. The man immediately started to yell, stating he was speaking for the other passengers in the car and that he was not in that much of a hurry. I offered to drop him off in Richmond and he wouldn't shut up; I guess he thought yelling and screaming was more productive and less likely to cause an accident than just hushing. I said I was going to drop him off in Richmond unless he was quiet. He finally shut up and we continued to SF. When I got to SF I told him to never get in my car again and I took his picture. He jumped out before the legal drop-off place. The other two passengers told me not to worry; he wasn’t speaking for them. I don't blame them for not speaking up when he was in the car -- it was pretty obvious he had issues.
March 28, 2012. Claremont/College Dangerous Driver
Acura TL, blue/gray/green color, license plate starting with “5”
This car is usually driven by a couple (bald male driver, female passenger) with baby seat in back. Have ridden with them before and the driver goes EXCEEDINGLY fast at times, both on the freeway and on short-cut surface streets. Today was the last straw. It was/had been raining and he was going 55+ MPH on Oakland surface streets and then 80+ MPH on the elevated, curving I-880/I-80 connector in the rain. It is at the VERY LEAST incredibly rude to think the backseat passenger would be comfortable riding at those speeds in the rain; the ‘etiquette’ section of the Casual Carpool page indicates clearly that drivers should be cautious, not reckless.
January 16, 2012. Aggressive rider - Del Norte
I got involved with a fight involving a passenger who loves to start stuff. I was waiting, unaware there were people in line at the SF stop for El Cerrito Del Norte, and a rider started using colorful language and acting agressively - the person who picked him up in a silver Prius somehow told him to leave the car and I got in instead. The rider was in the car behind us, and when we got off in El Cerrito, he instigated again and we both got into a fight and I have witnesses saying that he is an aggressor and has almost gotten into fights with drivers.
My advice to drivers picking up people to and from El Cerrito Del Norte - this person is Asian, in his 40's, has a weathered briefcase and wears a varsity/Letterman style jacket with NY Titans embroidered on it, and he looks pissed off for some reason. If you see him kindly but firmly persuade him to go take BART or AC Transit. I don't want to see people getting hurt when this guy opens his mouth.
January 10, 2012. Strange male at Grand/Perkins
In the past week there has been a strange black male hanging around the Perkins/Grand pick up spot. He asks many questions about how the carpool works, how much money is exchanged and what different routes to the freeway are taken by drivers. However, he never gets in a car. I have witnessed him do this and my boyfriend, who also rides casual carpool from the same pick up spot, has witnessed him do the same on a different day than I had witnessed him. I have seen him do this once, my boyfriend has seen it happen twice. I am trying not to be too suspicious, but it definitely seems strange that he asks the same questions each day and wants such detailed information but will step out of the line when it is his turn to get into a waiting car.
December 13, 2011. Vallejo - strange lady
I'd like to report a strange lady commuting the SF-Vallejo route.
I've been carpooling a little over a year now and everything had gone smoothly until last night. Picked up a Caucasian lady in her late 30's/early 40's in SF heading towards Vallejo. 20 mins into the ride as I passed the Bay Bridge she interrupts and asked if I was taking her back to SF? Claiming she's been in my car for 1.5 hrs and that it doesn't take that long to reach Vallejo. Confused and not sure what to say, I reassured her this is the route to Vallejo and that she's only been in the car for 20 mins. She calms down for a little while until I reached Pinole at which point she claims I'm not taking her to Vallejo and that she wants to get out of my car. Thinking for my own safety, I offered to drop her off at the next possible exit if she feels uncomfortable riding with me. She said no, and continue to insist I take her to Vallejo. Totally confused and scared, I drove as fast as I could until I reached the drop off point in Vallejo; she ended up getting out of my car right before the turn onto Lemon and slammed my car door on her way out. I'm just glad nothing happened and I was able to get her out of my vehicle but what an experience! Driver beware!
November 22, 2011. Grand/Perkins has riders at 9:00 am
I did this twice recently – at around 9:00am I drove to Lakeshore/Grand casual carpool spot and there was a long line of cars waiting, so I did not enter the line and drove to Grand/Perkins, and there were about seven or eight riders waiting. It seems if more drivers who normally pick up at Lakeshore/Grand would check Grand/Perkins it would help both these drivers and the G/P riders.
November 18, 2011. Fairfield - avoid gray Mercedes 2-seater
I want to report an unsafe and rude driver coming from Fairfield, CA.
The female driver of a 2 seater, grey, Mercedes (CLK or SLK) picked me up around 6:30 am today from the Fairfield location. She had the heat blasting in my face around 85/90 degrees and would not turn it down even though she was wearing fur. She then proceeded to drive extremely fast, swerving in an out of traffic in excess of 80 mph. On top of that she was extremely rude to me both upon arrival and departures. I did not feel safe nor wanted one time throughout the ride. In my 3 years of carpooling experience I've never encountered a driver like her and will certainly steer clear if I ever see her again.
November 16, 2011. Alameda - avoid red Jeep Grand Cherokee
Sat in this gentleman’s car twice and never again (I’ve learned my lesson the second time around). He’s a very aggressive driver and he’s always texting while driving which is very unsafe. He doesn’t pay attention to the road/traffic and brakes hard all the time or brakes at the last minute. Not a smooth ride for sure. I would suggest casual carpoolers avoid this vehicle and driver. He is Caucasian, in his mid 40’s, driving an older red Jeep Grand Cherokee.
November 3, 2011. College/Claremont road rage
The driver of a blue Mazda MX-5, picked me up at around 9:15 from the Claremont and College location. The driver engaged in an escalation of anger and aggressive driving when another driver cut us off and gave us a rude gesture out of her window. The driver of my car proceeded to return the rude gesture, and repeatedly tried to pass the other driver, making a number of dangerous maneuvers, which the other driver countered, trying to block us. At one point we nearly got run off the freeway on-ramp. I would recommend avoiding this driver.
November 2, 2011. Park/Hampel rudeness
I have used casual carpool almost daily for over five years now from the same spot and have never had any issues. Unfortunately, I had a very interesting ride this morning that left me very frustrated.
I got into a pale yellow, 1970s-ish, two door convertible Mercedes this morning at Park/Hampel at about 7:30 am. There was an older (70s?) African American man in a white shirt and tie driving, and an older (60s?) African American woman in the back seat behind me. I said good morning. Nothing else was said until we got to through the toll plaza, after which he asked if I was going to help pay the toll. I said I didn’t think I had any money today but that I would check. After going though my pockets and bag I said I was sorry but that I didn’t have any money. He asked me to clarify if I didn’t have any ‘dollars’ or any ‘money’. I said I had no money other than credit cards and apologized again.
The ride then continued as normal with nothing said until they pulled up at Howard and Fremont to drop me off. As I was getting out the man said that if I wanted to ride with them I should remember money next time. I apologized again and said I almost always do have cash but had run out yesterday and had not had time to get more. At that point the woman started pushing the seat forward (before I had gotten completely out) and said, "It's always one ethnic group that never has any money" (I am half Japanese). I asked her if she would like me to report them to the casual carpool site and she said, "We’re going to report you too." When I asked how, she said, ‘By your looks." At that point I left before I said something I would regret.
October 7, 2011. Another Oakland driver
Lakeshore & Grand pickup – 10/7/11 – Blue SUV, heavyset Caucasian male
Just before arriving at the SF dropoff point, my driver asked me to contribute the dollar for toll which I did not have. I politely told him I did not have it. When he pushed further, I re-iterated that I had no cash or change. He accused me of “stiffing” him and said I owed him a dollar. I politely disagreed with him and told him I am not obligated to pay him the dollar. He then began demanding the dollar saying that everyone pays and shouting expletives. When I said once again that I didn’t have a dollar he insisted I did. When I told him he was making me uncomfortable and that I wanted to exit the car, he demanded I leave the vehicle in the middle of Fremont St. while we were still in the center lane. I told him that was illegal and he could get a ticket and to please pull over for me to exit. As I left the car, he continued shouting expletives at me.
September 7, 2011. Oakland driver - anger management
This message is about a regular driver at Grand and Perkins in Oakland. He drives a newer-model tan Toyota Camry. He is middle aged, Asian American, balding, and wears glasses.
I've had unpleasant encounters with this driver before. He drives aggressively, asks way too many personal questions, and honks at the carpool passengers in the queue if they don't see him when he pulls up. But all of that pales in comparison to a frightening experience I had with this driver recently.
I got in the back seat with another passenger. A third passenger got in the front seat. The passenger next to me handed over a dollar before I got in. The passenger in the front seat did not. I didn't want to distract the driver or embarrass the passenger in the front seat, so I waited until we arrived in San Francisco to offer a dollar. The driver said nothing about a toll contribution during the drive.
When we pulled over on Howard Street, before I could even pass up the dollar in my hand, the driver whipped around and glared at me. After a second, he screamed, "You have to give money for toll!" I calmly told him that I had been planning to offer to contribute, but I didn't appreciate him screaming at me and demanding money. This aggravated him more. He began hurling obscenities at me as I got out of the car. A few seconds later, as he drove away, he rolled down his window and screamed some more obscenities at me.
Beware this driver. I'm scared to think what he might do to the next passenger in this situation.
March 16, 2011. Fairfield - not unsafe
Response to VP's comment from 2/1/10 (I'm just now seeing this and it piqued my curiosity):
The "unsafe driver" to which VP refers may be who many of us riders affectionately call "The 30-minute Man", although his Saturn is unmistakably dark red, not beige, so I'm not sure. However, that brings to mind a number of comments I've heard, both positive and negative, about this driver, and I'd like to post one in writing in his defense.
I've ridden with this driver many times. For my part, I consider him, while decidedly fast, quite safe. He sometimes will try to pass a very slow, timid driver in the carpool lane, but he does not take what I would consider unnecessary risks in his maneuvers. He waits until he knows he can make the pass safely. Sometimes he is not successful due to another car changing lanes, but he does not weave, like I've seen some teens and 20s do in their souped-up Hondas and the like. This driver is focused; he concentrates on the road (he does wear a Bluetooth but I don't think I've ever seen him make a call with it, except to 511 to get driving times and/or traffic conditions); and his lane changes are, for the most part, very smooth. He seems to know exactly where his front end and sides are, and artfully maneuvers through traffic. Whether he follows a bit close for some people's liking is not for me to say, but I can tell he has a good feel for the road and anticipation of traffic. The end result is a fast, smooth ride that saves me time getting to and from work.
I've heard a few people say they don't like riding with him, but many others are excited when he pulls around the corner, because they know he's going to get them home or to work in a professional, quick, and above all, safe manner. I'm one of the latter. In a time when there are so many distractions that people allow to take their eyes and mind off the road, this driver pays rapt attention, and that makes me feel quite safe. He is one of my favorite drivers!
--Rider between SF and Fairfield
February 18, 2011. I got mugged when a driver kicked me out early – North Berkeley
I got into a white Scion XB this morning leaving the North Berkeley BART station going to Civic Center. Nothing was said when I got in except to verify that I was going to Civic Center. When we got to the toll, the driver-–a blond haired woman of about 40-45–told us “It would be appreciated if you could contribute a dollar for the toll. (I forget the exact wording, but it was along these lines) I responded, “I’m sorry. I gave my last dollar away yesterday and I don’t have any more change.” Nothing else was said until we got into the city.
When we got off the 9th St. exit, she pulled over to the side of the road on Harrison just past 8th St and told me to get out (very rudely too). She said that I should have asked her when I got in if it would be ok to ride without a dollar. I said a choice word or two because I was pissed, but I still got out. Add on top of that I had a terrible night’s sleep and I’m starting to get sick. Stranded in SOMA now, I walked down towards 7th St and Harrison where I could pick up a 19 Polk. I just missed the bus, so I would have to wait for the next one, usually 10-15 minutes for that line. While I was waiting, I got robbed at gunpoint and had my wallet and phone stolen.
I’m at the police station right now where my partner just came to pick me up. I wanted to let the carpoolers know about this incident right away, so I’m writing you from his phone. This toll controversy has gone far enough, and I blame the driver for kicking me out of the car so rudely and inappropriately.
All this over a dollar.
February 11, 2011. Unsafe/aggressive driver - Grand & Lakeshore
Lakeshore & Grand to SF. I was picked up at around 8:20 am today by an older white man driving a green Honda. I have been a rider in his car before and noticed some aggressiveness, but today was much worse. He refused to brake and allow a car that was already slightly in front of him in while merging onto the freeway. Then he aggressively merged across multiple lanes, nearly running into the cars in front of him and just barely squeezing in front of the cars behind. Was driving too fast/above speed limit (70 in a 45 mph zone) and kept slamming on brakes at last minute to avoid collision. Continued aggressive merging/cutting people off on the bridge. Avoid this driver/car!
October 8, 2010. Unsafe driver - Grand & Perkins
The driver of a maroon-ish Toyota Tercel is dangerous! He's in his 40's, Asian, mostly bald, wore aviator-type sunglasses. He swerved in and out of lanes, didn't pay attention to the road, tailed cars in front of him, and almost hit other cars 2-3 times while we were going across the bridge. I have been taking carpool for two years and never actually thought it was dangerous until today. The other passenger and I got out of the car like it was on fire when we finally made it to SF.
September 16, 2010. Passenger pickpocket - Vallejo
I picked up two passengers today at the casual carpool located at Lemon St. in Vallejo. The passenger sitting in the front (I was driving) had a chance to get into my purse and stole my wallet. Her description: female in her early twenties, African American, wearing a white no-sleeve thin jacket and black jeans. Her weight is about 150+ lbs, with a height of about 5”2-5”3. I’m informing you of this because this girl seems like a pro in pick-pocketing. I filed a police report as soon as I arrived at work. Please make drivers and other casual carpoolers aware.
June 22, 2010. Unsafe driver - Oakland
Red Mini Cooper with lots of stuffed animals in car
The driver was completely reckless, constantly changing lanes and cutting cars without looking over her shoulders to check for oncoming traffic. She had to hit the brakes over and over, I thought we were going to hit a car on multiple occasions (not to mention an angry van driver yelling at us for her terrible driving). After the other passengers and I got out, we said we were thankful for making it to SF alive in spite of our lives flashing in front of us.
June 1, 2010. Unsafe driver - Vallejo
I rode in from Vallejo today with a driver (Indian or Pakistani male, early 20s) of a white Acura sedan who wove in and out of the lanes at 80 mph, and that was not the worst of it. When the driver pulled out his cell phone and read a text message and then proceeded to use his knees to steer the car while starting to type a text I very clearly told him to not text while driving pointing out that it is both dangerous and illegal. The young man was visibly irritated by my protest but he did drop his phone into his lap and proceeded to drive a little (but not much) more cautiously for the duration of the trip.
I will not get in this young man's car again if I see him in the car pool lines.
This is the second time I have had to tell a driver (I don't ask because texting while driving is NOT an option) to not text while driving. Riders should be encouraged to speak up and protest this dangerous and illegal behavior while riding in casual carpool. The life they save might just be their own.
February 23, 2010. Unsafe driver - North Berkeley to Civic Center
Female driver, long straight brown hair, in black BMW SUV texted continuously while driving from North Berkeley BART to Civic Center, SF drop-off on 9th St. and Market St.
The driver steered the car with one hand and texted with the other, constantly looking up and down from her lap where she held the phone. She did not use turn signals when changing lanes and drove tentatively, probably because her view of the road was interrupted by her texting. Her two hands were rarely on the wheel, and her two eyes were only intermittently on the road.
February 1, 2010. Unsafe driver - SF to Fairfield
I want to report an unsafe driver who drove from SF to Fairfield during the Eastbound commute this past Monday, January 25, 2010 at approximately 4:15 p.m. He is a white male, early to mid 30's, no facial hair, short dark hair, slim to medium build and wears glasses and a Bluetooth hands free phone device. The car is a light colored metallic beige Saturn.
This driver not only drove exceedingly fast for the weather conditions, he routinely changed lanes at high speeds and passed drivers on the right in order to get ahead of cars in the carpool lane and then slammed on the brakes coming within inches of the rear end of the cars he was tailgating. The other two passengers and I seriously feared for our lives and are amazed that this guy did not lose control of his vehicle during our ride home. I would never ride with this driver again.
January 29, 2010. Unsafe car - Grand Ave.
Dirty/Unsafe Car at Chevron on Grand Ave., Oakland
There is an early 1980's model beige VW Vanagon with whited-out windows driven by a man in his '50's/60's. His car is filthy with stained seats and reeks of gasoline. The front passenger seatbelt is broken and is held together with masking tape. Do not ride in this car.
November 24, 2009. Too-fast driver - El Cerrito
Silver 2-Door Chrysler sports car. Plate # 6AHX739.
Speeds approaching 90 mph from El Cerrito across the Bay Bridge at about 6:15am, 11/24/2009
November 5, 2009. Too-inquisitive driver - Claremont & College
I wanted to let people know to be aware of an Asian man, probably in his 40s, driving a Ford extended cab white/gray truck with a young Asian woman in the back. He picked me up at the Rockridge stop and asked a lot of personal questions and questions about where I work, what I do and then asked for my business card. Although I refused to answer any of his questions or give him my card, he didn't stop questioning me. The woman in the back, who was obviously someone he knows, did not say a word.
November 3, 2009. Update - Fruitvale & Montana driver
I just wanted to give an "update"/response to the September 23, 2009 posting below...
From JS' description, I believe I rode in this car this morning (it was a white Toyota with grey interior, I believe a Corolla). I got in at Fruitvale and Montana - same setup in terms of the driver and the woman in the back. We just took the Bay Bridge across - the driver was very nice and a very safe driver the entire time. If anything, he drove a bit slow at times - but not so slow that it was dangerous.
October 7, 2009. Car stolen in Vallejo
I just wanted to get the word out that it is very dangerous to park your car in the "overflow lot" in Vallejo. This is located right on the corner of Lemon Street and Curtola Parkway. In August I parked in the lot on a Friday morning and when I returned my car was gone. I did get it back 4 days later; however, it was so dirty and tainted that I ended up selling it. I would hate for this to happen to anyone else as it has caused me huge headaches and problems since. Beware!
September 30, 2009. Reckless driver - Vallejo
I have been taking the Casual Car Pool from Vallejo to San Francisco over the last two years. During this time I have not experienced any problems or had any concerns until yesterday. I rode from Beale St with a middle aged gentleman in a compact grey/silver Mitsubishi. This ride was very unsettling and frightening, to say the least. The driver was tailgating the car in front of us to the point that every time the car slowed down our driver had to slam on his brakes. Near Richmond the car in front of us slowed. Our driver slammed on his brakes, as did the car directly behind us, which was then hit by the van behind it. By this time I was so uncomfortable and frightened that I asked our driver to stop tailgating and slamming his brakes. I also informed him that I was going to post a warning on the rideshare website to alert people about his driving. After that he began to drive like a civilized person.
I would like people to think twice before riding with this driver. The license plate on the car is 5VVK455.
September 23, 2009. Bad driver - Fruitvale and Montana
I've been taking the carpool for about a year now and for the most part it's great, but this morning I got into an white Toyota Corrola (?) at my usual place of Fruitvale and Montana and had a terrible experience.
The driver was an older Asian man and in the back seat was a young Asian woman who told me there was an accident on the 580 and they were going to take the 880 instead. I agreed to this, I've done it before and sometimes it's quicker. So we drove down Fruitvale, but the driver turned off on 29th and got lost and could not find the freeway entrance. After running two stop signs, making an illegal left turn on a red light and driving around the parking lot at the Fruitvale Mall looking for a way onto the freeway, he topped it off by driving on the wrong side of the street onto an off-ramp. At this point I yelled at him to get off immediately, as did the woman in the back. The driver spoke no English and seemed utterly lost and confused.
I didn't get the license plate, but please be careful of this driver if he shows up again.
August 14, 2009. A driver's view - etiquette
After reading a lot of the general comments by passengers on this discussion board, I'd like to express a few comments myself as a driver.
I've been doing casual carpool for 10+ years and although I've run into mostly great people who show respect to me and my vehicle, I will say there are some sour, disrespectful, tacky, rude passengers out there that would make me give up carpool altogether if I could. These people will eat, snack, drink in my car without even thinking of asking my permission to eat, snack, drink in MY car. I don't even allow my kids to eat in my car.
Another peeve of mine is when passengers decide to give themselves a manicure. I don't care if you have a towel/napkin to catch your nail clippings so they don't fall onto the floor/seat; it's called etiquette.
One thing that HAS changed over the years is the unspoken 'rule' of the passengers paying after 7 p.m. Most passengers respect this, but there are still a few that will coincidentally fall asleep or just not contribute while going thru the tolls after 7 p.m. I do understand that passengers may not have change or money to give, but instead of ignoring it, just say something. It might be embarrassing, but I would be more compassionate towards that passenger by speaking up, otherwise I will just be bitter towards that person and I WILL remember that person and possibly not pick them up again.
Overall, I've met some great people thru carpool throughout the years, where relationships have grown outside of carpool (happy hour, dinner, functions, etc). It's a great system ... I'm so glad to be part of it.
August 9, 2009. Oakland/Monte Vista car to avoid
From the Oakland Ave./Monte Vista casual carpool, I was picked up by a late model black BMW (5 or 7 series, 4 door) with a young Asian woman driver (20s) and her African-American boyfriend (also in his early 20s). They were playing music at an extremely loud volume. I asked him to please turn the music down which he did slightly and then when I put my earphones in for my iPhone, he intentionally turned the music up louder than the original volume. I asked him to turn it down again, and he muttered he would if I politely asked. At that point he wanted to argue and he refused to turn down the music. This is unacceptable music/behavior for casual car pool. I have taken part in the wonderful opportunity for the past 10 years and have had only a couple of other poor experiences, and feel it is my duty to all my car pool friends to warn of this infraction... Beware friends and thank you for providing this forum.
Regards and safe travels!
June 8, 2009. North Berkeley car to avoid
Male driver in blue Honda, license plate 4YUV443, is a car to avoid. The driver is aggressive, speeds, tailgates, rolls through stop signs, changes lanes excessively, and is an all-around scary driver. He was doing 70 on the flyover, and then about 75 on the Bay Bridge (at least 10 mph faster than everyone else on the bridge). He switched lanes excessively, not only on the Bay Bridge, but even several times on the (short) Fremont Street off-ramp. I'm definitely not getting in this car again!
May 19, 2009. Emeryville car to avoid
I got a ride in a small used two-door gray-colored car outside Watergate in Emeryville this morning at 8:00 a.m. A man under 30 was driving. The woman was under 40. They spoke a language that sounded Russian. After we had gone over the bridge, the driver had moved over to the lane second to the left hand lane. He waited to the very last minute to swerve into the left lane to make the turn-off. We nearly hit the barrier in the middle of the road. He laughed as though it was a joke. We drove through the two sets of lights, and then he starts to drive up the one-way ramp, (on the left side of the road) going the wrong way. His girlfriend started yelling at him. Again, he laughed. We were stuck in the middle of the road while cars behind us nearly crashed into us. He was still smiling when I got out of the car, as though it was a joy ride, and he had impressed his girlfriend.
The car had no license plates, and no registration sticker -- there was a dealer label on the windshield.
I don't think he was drunk. I don't think he had ever picked up a passenger before in the car pool lane. I'm not sure that he has ever driven here before, because nobody in their right mind drives up a ramp that says No Entry. What concerns me the most is his recklessness with a passenger in the car.
April 27, 2009. Car break-in - Fruitvale & Montana
I just want to inform people that there have been a few car burglaries at the Fruitvale & Montana parking lot. Last Thursday my car was broken into and my stereo was stolen along w/ my gym bag. I heard that another car was broken into right before mine. Is there a way to petition for security cameras? I have been parking there for at least 5 years, and now I don't feel safe parking my car there.
March 2, 2009. North Berkeley Civic Center line
There's a lot of confusion about the Civic Center pickup spot at N. Berkeley BART. Cars actually line up in front of the newspaper racks for Civic Center (and by "in front of, I mean, they drive PAST the Downtown line, past the newspaper racks, and the FIRST CAR IN LINE is BACKED UP TO THE NEWSPAPER RACKS. Cars that arrive thereafter PASS THE FIRST CAR, pull over to the curb and back up to the first car. Logistically this is the only way for it to work. Why? Because a fire lane begins about 3-4 car lengths after the newsracks.
February 19, 2009. High & MacArthur new location
DB forwarded this from Oakland City Councilmember Jean Quan's weekly newsletter:
New Site for Casual Car Pools in the Laurel: Thank you to everyone who participated in the process of selecting a new Casual Carpool location. After having discussing the danger of current popular stop on High near the freeway entrance at numerous NCPC meetings, having held a formal meeting on January 8th, and having conducted a walking audit involving OPD, Traffic Engineering, AC Transit, and citizens; there is a consensus on a new location.
The new location for Casual Carpool pickup will be in any one of the approximately four spaces near the front of 4247 Macarthur Blvd , (the Laurel Foot Clinic). The walking audit on January 21st revealed that this location is convenient for drivers and pedestrians as well as for those who wish to catch the N Trans-Bay bus.
We have talked to the owner, Dr. Lyons, of the Foot Clinic and he has given us his support because the hours of Casual Carpool are from about 6am-9am and his business does not open until 10am. Please help spread the word to all users of Casual Carpool about the new location. We are discussing signage issues with the City Attorney's Office.
February 19, 2009. Rockridge - car to avoid
I got into an older model white Toyota Corolla with a missing passenger side mirror this morning at the Rockridge pick up. During the short ride over the Bay Bridge we had three extremely close calls with screeching tires, nearly avoiding stopped cars. All were at a high rate of speed and would have severely injured everyone involved.
The driver blamed her near misses on not having had her morning coffee. It's really not a laughing matter. If you see this car wait for another. It isn't worth the risk!
January 21, 2009. Oakland PD killing High & MacArthur – update
DB forwarded this note from Michael Johnson of Oakland City Councilmember Jean Quan's office:
Here is what I sent to AC Transit, City of Oakland officials and others about the walking audit conducted this Morning.
Thanks to all who participated
As many of you are aware (and some of you participated), we had a walking audit of the Casual Carpool situation at High Street and Macarthur Blvd.
For some time now, the community has been seeking an alternate location in order to preserve traffic and pedestrian safety. Currently, people are picked up on the High St. side of the empty lot at the intersection of High St. and MacArthur Blvd.
With the assistance of OPDs Traffic Division, Traffic Engineering, AC Transit and three citizen participants we seem to have found a location that works in terms of: easy access to the Transbay bus stop, easy accessibility to the freeway, and pedestrian/traffic safety friendliness.
There were, however, some concerns that arose from this meeting that I would like to discuss before presenting this option to the larger community
Dale and Patrick: We would need 2 signs made; one to discourage people from using the present location and one to encourage people to use the new location. Darian Avelino indicated that there may be a problem getting signs because of potential liability issues arising from the City condoning this program. Please advise as the Sheriffs Department is actively warning and citing individuals for pulling onto the sidewalk at the current location.
For your collective convenience, I have attached the Google Map with place markers to show both the current and proposed location of Casual Carpool.
Have a wonderful day,
December 12, 2008. Oakland PD killing High & MacArthur
This morning Oakland Police Department officers were giving verbal warnings to drivers to discontinue stopping at that location to pick up casual carpoolers and that it was illegal to park on the sidewalk to wait for riders. OPD also said they were receiving complaints about drivers blocking the driving lane, drivers creating traffic congestion, and unsafe conditions.
[Suggest contacting Oakland City Councilmember Jean Quan: email@example.com, (510) 238-7004.]
November 19, 2008. Unhappy with Gold Lexus
I was picked up today at Perkins and Grand by an African American woman in a Gold Lexus. We sped down West Grand at 55 mph toward the on-ramp to 880. Once on the 880 connector to 80 we traveled quickly down the right shoulder to avoid the traffic before the carpool line. Racing and cutting in and out of traffic we swerved to avoid hitting a tractor trailer as we approached the bridge. All the while the base in the back was pumping. I had my headphones with me and evidently annoyed the driver when I didn't first hear her question as to my final destination. "Howard and Fremont would be fine" I told her and put my headphones back on. I apparently didn't hear her subsequent announcement that she was late for work and would instead be dropping us off at 5th and Harrison. I work at Market and Fremont and am quite fortunate to have the usual drop off spot so close. While I don't mind a little walk, I felt it rather rude to be dropped off a mile from the pre-agreed drop off location simply because this woman was running late for work. I had already decided never to ride with her again and the drop off at 5th and Harrison solidified that decision and encouraged me to share my experience and urge others to not carpool with this driver again.
November 11, 2008. El Cerrito Del Norte Jaywalking Citations
El Cerrito PD was giving out citations for jaywalking this morning at the San Pablo/Eastshore intersection near the El Cerrito - Del Norte BART casual carpool pickup. They are definitely targeting riders heading to casual carpool, so be patient and wait for the lights (even if they seem to take forever.)
July 31, 2008. Please, clean your car!
This is not on the rules and etiquette list, but it should be. I just had an unpleasant carpool experience due to the most disgusting, stained and smelly car I've ever been in. There were crumbs and stains all over the seats and smelled of old food and sour milk. There was a child seat but it looked as though it had not been used in a long time (covered with books and backpacks that were all dusty). It was a red Saturn Vue with a blue Obama sticker driven by a black female with long dreadlocks (High and MacArthur pickup location). I have seen other people not get into her car and now I know why. I have been in other cars that have had tons of dog hair and other stains on the seats. Drivers, please clean your cars before picking up riders!
July 30, 2008. Grand Ave/Perkins - drivers wanted!
This site has been really unpredictable for at least the last month. Some days there are a couple cars waiting and other days the line of people is 15 people long (this has been the norm lately). Also, the gas station is a "Valero," not an "Eagle" gas station (minor detail, but I hope it helps!).
Thanks for keeping up this site! It is really helpful.
July 25, 2008. Car to avoid
anon. (female) wrote:
At 6:30pm at the Beale S.F. location I was the only passenger in the front seat of a car driven by a white male about 30 yrs old, in a light green Toyota (Camry I believe) lic. plate # 5XUJ435, with two child seats in the back. Information was exchanged regarding work. After a few minutes he started becoming forceful in conversation and swearing every few words. I said I was uncomfortable and he was disrespectful and rude, and asked to be dropped off at Del Norte Bart. He became angry and said to get out in the middle of the freeway right after crossing the bridge. He said he would not drop me off at Del Norte, and the next few miles he continued harassing saying Im going to pay the bridge Toll and acted like he was doing me an enormous favor and that I was rude. At El Cerrito he turned off and I got out of the car. I felt unsafe and invaded.
July 24, 2008. Careful, please
I have been participating in casual carpool for almost 20 years, and there is one thing that I would like to see happen more frequently. It would be extremely courteous and safer if drivers would allow passengers the time to put on their seatbelts before pulling away from the curb or turning onto the street. Usually, it only takes about 5 seconds, but most drivers (who usually already have on their seatbelts) barely let a passenger close the door before putting their foot on the accelerator. Once, one driver tried to drive away before I closed the door, and it hit a newspaper stand.
RF adds (August 15, 2008):
This morning a driver picked me and 2 more riders up at the Grand and Perkins Valero. I was getting into the backseat and had not yet shut the door (I still had one foot outside on the ground) and he started pulling away. He did this twice! He ended up being a safe driver, but the first minute was a little unsettling.
July 13, 2008. Drivers needed at Emeryville Marina
At Powell St between Admiral and Commodore at 7:30 am there is typically a line of around 10 passengers waiting 20 minutes before cars arrive.
May 15, 2008. Car to avoid
VA (female) wrote:
I got into a car with two males -- one black and one white -- and a black woman. I sat in the front seat. I noticed that the driver kept looking over and staring at me. The male passenger in the back seat said "You sure are fine. You would make a lot of money." The woman said that she had her own escort service in San Francisco and that she goes to the Financial District and SoMa to have sex with businessmen. The car smelled like marijuana and like they had been drinking. When I got out of the car in San Francisco I noticed the man in the back had a gun.
I called the SFPD and the OPD. The car was a Mercedes-Benz CLS 500 black coupe. The driver was a black male, mid 20s to early 30s, clean-cut, wearing a black suit. White male passenger early to mid 20s, white, button-collar shirt, silver slacks. Black female passenger teen to early 20s, long black hair, hazel eyes, black-framed glasses.
February 26, 2008. North Berkeley driver to avoid
Unsafe/angry/odd driver - North Berkeley casual carpool
Avoid this man. Newer, white Toyota pickup. License plate 74KKK.
Asked me if I had a cell phone. When I replied "yes", he asked me to turn my cell phone off! Claimed the "radiation" gives him headaches. In carpool lane on 80, he broke up suddenly in order to mess with a person he claimed was tailgating him only a car length behind him. He received multiple angry horns from the vehicle behind. He seemed very agitated and drove erratically. He held up traffic on Fremont St. exit instead of merging with North bound traffic causing many horns from both oncoming and traffic behind him.
His description is white male with gray hair and mustache in his late 50's, early 60's.
April 29, 2008. EM confirms:
This same guy scared the heck out of me in March. I'm a big guy so wasn't intimidated but I don't think this man was mentally stable. He cut off a few other drivers and was concerned that I would threaten his health with my walkman and cell phone (which were both off). His pickup truck only takes one causal carpooler.
February 6, 2008. Oakland Ave. driver to avoid
This morning at the Oakland Avenue pick-up the white, middle-aged male driver of a gray Nissan "sportscar" (the Altima coupe, maybe?) with a brownish red interior rejected several people in line in order to hand-pick two young Asian women. He claimed that the first person in line (also a woman) would not fit in his car and so he had to take "two small ladies" (he also skipped over the men in line before his chosen women). There were many riders waiting for drivers and most people were taking 3 or more, but he would only take two small handpicked women.
I just want to warn people against riding with him due to his discriminatory (and very creepy) behavior. I would not get in a car with him.
Another identifying feature of his car is that he had an 8-ball decal on the trunk emblem.
December 13, 2007. Alameda - Park & Encinal tickets
A sheriff is now handing out $250 tickets to casual carpool drivers waiting to pick up passengers at Park and Encinal in Alameda. He stipulates they cannot park their cars in the red zone. There isn't anything but red zone at the location and his advice is to move casual carpool.
November 30, 2007. Alameda - Park & Encinal
I pick up carpoolers at the casual carpool location in Alameda every morning, the one located at Park Ave. and Encinal. Almost always there is a line of cars waiting for people which causes us to have to park in the bus lane there where the OX stops. This morning an Alameda Co. sherriff came and made us all leave, he said we cannot park at the bus stop or within 75 feet behind it, only the 2 cars in the red zone around the bend on Park Ave. were allowed to stay. So my question is how are we supposed to wait for people if there is nowhere there for us to wait? The red zone on Park Ave. only accomodates 3 cars tops and if we cannot park within 75 feet of the bus stop at that corner, then how will carpoolers even know we are waiting for them? It is a residential area and there are not any open street spots all down that block.
November 4, 2007. Citations at Del Norte
BART is giving out citations to people who are parking in their lot and using carpool. BART posted flyers on vehicles two weeks ago stating that the parking lot was for patrons who used BART to and from their destinations. Apparently they have a BART police officer watching vehicles enter the lot and if you leave the lot they will try to give you a verbal warning. If you continue to leave they will give you a $25 ticket.
November 1, 2007. Grand Lake: Vouching for the white van
I am a daily CC passenger from the Grand Lake pickup. This morning, the vehicle at the front of the line was a 2-seater, large white cargo van, with an El Salvador bumper sticker.
As I approached the line of cars, I saw a number of passengers entering vehicles further back in the line. No one would get into this man's van. Allow me to say here that I totally understand the general reservation of getting in a two-seater, especially a non-descript cargo van.
However, the point of my message is that the driver, named Jose, was really friendly, a fine driver, and has nothing about him which to fear. He spoke lovingly of his young daughter, whose picture hung from his rear-view mirror, and offered me an extended ride in the direction he was heading (which didn't happen to be where I was heading.)
Anyways, I asked him if he often has to wait a while before a passenger enters his car, and he replied understandingly that a lot of people, especially women, prefer not to ride in a two-seater. He then said that unfortunately, he also feels that many people avoid his car because he is Latino. It was this comment in particular that prompted me to post this message, as I simply wanted to vouch for his class and his character, and hope that our community of casual carpoolers continues to live up to a high standard of cooperation and synergy. This community has no place for racial or ethnic profiling.
Long live casual carpool.
June 9, 2008. NR adds:
Same exact experience with the white cargo van with the El Salvador sticker. Great guy, no reason to pass this car up! (and I'm a female)
October 9, 2007. North Berkeley problem drivers
Vehicle: Dark Blue Honda Accord
Driver: Male, 50s, gray hair, gray mustache, slightly overweight, business casual dress
Behavior: Almost hit numerous bicyclists and pedestrians and then yelled at them. Yes, more than one in less than 3 blocks. Made right turn from left lane and then committed road rage against driver that was in the right lane and honked when almost hit. Drives across many lanes in jerky movements. Tailgates. Does not use his own seatbelt until he sees police. Speeds. Got agreement on this assessment from other riders.
Religious Radio Listener
Vehicle: Silver Honda CR-V
Driver: Female, late 20s/early 30s, East Asian, thin, long hair, very pleasant looking
Behavior: Listens to seriously conservative religious radio (http://www.kfia.com/) and hands out religious propaganda to passengers. Example of topics: buying the perfect bride; the evil and sin of Victoria's Secret catalogue; etc. Will turn up the volume on the radio if a passenger opens reading material or shows distraction in any other way, such as looking out the window or closing eyes. Drives slowly and, albeit safely, switches lanes from one end of the highway to the other, presumably to elongate the ride. I had the misfortune of riding with this woman more than once, so I noticed the pattern. Also, even if the line is not long at North Berkeley casual carpool, she will wait to take 3 passengers, presumably to spread The Word to as many people as possible.
April 29, 2008. EM adds:
I rode with both of these drivers in February and March of 2008. The first is a danger and menace. I intend to take his picture the next time I see him to help the police when he kills someone. I am kicking myself for not having done so.
The Religious Asian woman is harmless, I think. She's a good driver and, while I object to her evangelizing, it was pretty subtle. I did not perceive her taking too long on her drive or going too slow. She did hand out a flier to me as I left, but if you live in Berkeley you gotta expect that stuff. I would ride with her again. I might give her a Richard Dawkins flier next time though :)
May 5, 2008. TR adds:
Yes, "reckless driver" is terrifying. And he thinks he's good -- has no idea he's scaring others. AVOID! His license has "YUV" near the beginning.
September 18, 2007. Carquinez Bridge Carpool Lanes
As a carpooler in this new configuration where carpools now pass at the far left end of the toll plaza, I am afraid that an accident is waiting to happen while taking lanes toward exiting to Sonoma Blvd. Many carpoolers take this exit when dropping riders in Lemon St./ Curtola Parkway instead of the 780 route. It is such a short stretch from the toll plaza and you have to cross three lanes to exit. I just hope that they redirect the carpool lane where it was before the configuration (at the middle lane).
March 5, 2007. Reckless driver
Vehicle: Dodge Pickup, Four Door, Silver/Metallic, Firefighter Logo on back window.
Driver: White male, 30’s, goatee, overweight, very short light brown hair, black leather jacket.
Reason for Alert: On Monday, March 05, 2007, 5:45am the driver picked up two passengers.
• The driver slammed on the brakes repeatedly.
• The driver swerved back and forth across four lanes of traffic at a high rate of speed.
• The driver tailgated other vehicles.
January 11, 2007. Female passengers only?
I wanted to find out the etiquette of woman drivers allowing only women passengers into their cars, following news of the carjacking this week. I may be presumptuous in assuming that a woman would not commit a violent crime like this, but I am generally much more comfortable accepting women into my car. Is this unfair profiling of men, or warranted in light of the carjacking news?
[It's our experience that this is not uncommon, and that such choices are respected without comment or disapproval.]
January 9, 2007. Woman carjacked
A coworker picked up a carpooler this morning from the Hercules Transit Center. The rider waited until she arrived at the SF Bus Terminal, pretended to get out of the car, then turned to her and said to keep driving and threatened that he had a bomb. He repeatedly asked for her purse and wanted her to drive him to Richmond.
After driving him around the area for a few minutes, she managed to pull over while he was distracted and was able to get out of the car. He took her car, hit a cab, and drove off. This has been reported both to SFPD and the Hercules PD.
She is fortunately safe.
[A news story is available here: http://cbs5.com/topstories/local_story_010012937.html]
November 2, 2006. Lafayette activity?
I have driven by the pick up in Lafayette a couple or mornings and not seen anyone waiting. There are all sorts of "no parking / bike lane" signs along that stretch of road. Could the pick up point have moved?
Is there a way to solicit potential riders? I live in Pleasant Hill and would love to hook up with folks from that area.
October 31, 2006. Orinda parking?
I wanted to ask riders who use the Orinda casual carpool on Bryant Way where they park their cars. I am new to Orinda and would like to casual carpool. The BART lot is obviously out and the city has limited the parking hours around the pick up point.
October 31, 2006. Grand and Perkins back to gas station
Just a note to let you know that the carpool has returned to the gas station at Grand and Perkins (formerly a Shell station, now an Eagle station), and is no longer picking up in front of the dry cleaners.
October 9, 2006. New Emeryville location
I just wanted to make sure you knew that 6363 Christie Ave is now an "official" Casual Carpool pick up spot - since the Homeowners Associations have stopped their bus services due to low ridership, they have put up a Casual Carpool sign next to the Emery-Go-Round shuttle stop/J Bus Stop - so there are now 2 spots to pick up in Emeryville.
I am a driver and am usually looking for passengers around 9 am or even a bit later, so I wanted to encourage people looking for rides around then not to give up hope! Traffic at the tolls has been bad even past 10 am, so I generally look for riders.
Also, I wanted to encourage other drivers - on Fridays when the traffic is light there are more people looking for cars to carpool in - I like to "pay back" the riders by picking them up, even on a non-traffic day, just to make sure that they get a ride. It's good karma!
Thanks for maintaining the site!
October 1, 2006. Car stolen at Fruitvale
I've carpooled and parked my car at the Park and Ride at Fruitvale and Montana Street for 8 years and I loved it. On Monday, September 25th my 1996 Honda Civic was stolen...
Why is there no policeman monitoring Fruitvale Park and Ride? In my eight years I've parked there I have seen maybe 3 cops monitoring the lot. Is it possible we can have camera surveillance?
September 26, 2006. Vacaville carpools response
Response to MS:
I live in Vacaville and would love to see the casual carpool start up in either of the Park ‘n’ Ride lots there, but to my knowledge it has not done so. The easternmost pickup point, as far as I know, is the Fairfield Transportation Center, at the corner of Auto Mall and Cadenasso. This is a full-fledged casual carpool location; there is a sign there, plenty of people base their carpools there, it’s well-lit, seems to have plenty of parking, and it seems safer and a shorter wait than Vallejo. If you need more info/directions to Fairfield Transportation Ctr, or if you may be interested in a regular carpool from Vacaville, e-mail me.
July 28, 2006. Vacaville carpools?
There is a Park-n-Ride on Cliffside (Peabody exit, across from Costco) just off 80 in Vacaville. Does anyone casual carpool from this location? Any information on the Fairfield lot would also be appreciated.
July 19, 2006. North Berkeley question
I was wondering what solutions casual carpoolers are coming up with now that North Berkeley BART is charging $1 for parking in the lot? I assume you have to go inside the toll gate to pay for parking. I am lucky enough so that I can walk in 15 minutes, but I hate the idea of coming home late from the city and not having a car to go home in.
July 14, 2006. Etiquette additions
As a long-time carpool passenger, I'd like to add a couple other etiquette items:
* If there is still a substantial line of passengers as it gets after 6pm, drivers are urged to take as many people as their vehicles can hold so as many passengers as possible can get rides home.
* If you are a passenger in a vehicle which crosses a toll bridge after 7pm, you are urged to offer enough to cover /more than your share/ of the toll (e.g. $2 instead of $1 in a 3-person carpool). This will encourage drivers to continue picking up passengers later into the evening, plus it's still a great deal for the passenger.
* Drivers are encouraged to offer an approximate final destination in San Francisco (e.g. Civic Center, south of Market, Financial District or cross streets). Passengers greatly appreciate riding for a few extra blocks if your commute routes partially overlap. You might even meet a permanent carpool passenger!
* Passengers are encouraged to be considerate of other passengers who might have tall or large bodies which more comfortably fit in front seats than back.
* Passengers should assume that food and drink are not allowed in driver's cars.
* Drivers should be considerate of passengers when listening to music, news or talk radio. Rear speakers and subwoofers produce much more sound than side door speakers, so please keep your volume in check.
* Drivers are encouraged to drive extra cautiously when commuting with passengers, particularly when it comes to lane changes to and from the diamond lane. There have been more than a few accidents involving casual carpool vehicles. Passengers notice and even gossip about the wild drivers. This may cost you time waiting in line if your vehicle is skipped by them.
This is a bit harsh sounding to me:
"Car pool etiquette seems to be that passengers remain silent unless the driver initiates conversation."
* Drivers generally should be the ones to initiate any conversation. Passengers should keep in mind that some drivers need or prefer to keep their minds focused on the road than chat.
[All excellent suggestions. They've been incorporated in the Introduction to Casual Carpools page. Thanks!]
June 26, 2006. Del Norte Police Activity
This morning the El Cerrito Police Department coned off a section of the street just before the carpool pickup. One of the officers informed those waiting in the carpool line that they could not block traffic if their car was idling outside of their partition and told them to leave immediately.
I phoned the El Cerrito Police Department and spoke with the Watch Officer and he stated that the officers were doing a Commercial Vehicle Inspection that morning. He said they might periodically do them every 1 - 2 months. Please be aware of this nuisance.
I don't know if the El Cerrito Police Department has some sort of disdain towards the casual carpool program, but on more than a few occasions I have seen them come out periodically in force at Cutting Blvd. and target carpoolers and pull them over.
June 22, 2006. Insurance question
I am a Driver and pick up in Hercules, had a new person get into my BRAND NEW CAR, when arrived in SF he opened the door into oncoming traffic and a moving truck. I now have damage to the back door.
Here is my question - Are the riders responsible for damage they cause or am I out of pocket?
June 19, 2006. Vallejo - gas siphon
I had my car broken into on 6/14 while parked on Woodrow & Lemon. I was parked on the street pretty close to the front of someone's house. I always thought the car would be safer there but obviously parking on that street can be as bad as having your windows broken out in the lot.
Besides taking things from inside my car and my trunk (I don't really keep anything of value in my car as I know break-ins are prevalent) they ruptured my fuel filler tube in their attempt to siphon gas. I spoke with the Sheriff's Dept and they assured me that they patrol that street. (I think I've seen them there maybe 4-5 times in 2 yrs.) I think the criminals are pretty brazen and sure of themselves when in broad daylight in front of someone's house they break into your car AND siphon your gas.
I can't think of any safe alternatives.
June 12, 2006. Richmond Parkway - $3/day parking
This issue needs to be addressed over and over again, now that they have started charging an outrageous $3.00 for parking in the Richmond parkway parking lot. The lot is always 1/2 empty - people refuse to pay it - and I don't blame them.
Maybe $1 if any for a charge but $3.00 is crazy. You already spend $3.50 each way on the bus - that's $7.00. And to top it off another $3.00 - that's $10.00 per day. Totally unreasonable.
I hope no one uses the parking lot until somebody comes to their senses.
June 6, 2006. Etiquette question
I would like to explore being a casual carpool driver. Is it okay to ask people not to bring drinks (coffee etc.) into my new car?
[I would think so. It's not a great inconvenience for passengers - they just have to get in the next car.]
June 3, 2006. Del Norte - don't block OSH driveway
One little problem at Del Norte -- drivers became accustomed to blocking the driveway at the pickup spot, since the parking lot there was vacant. Now that OSH is open, it causes problems for those entering and exiting the lot, even in the morning.
May 23, 2006. Grand & Perkins - on north side of street
I just wanted to send an update on the Grand and Perkins pickup location. I am a rider and a driver; things seemed to have smoothed out overall. Passengers are now standing on the North side of Perkins, in front of the Dry Cleaners. The only down side is that there aren't as many cars for passengers to ride in. I am hoping that drivers will see this email and start coming back to this location for carpool.
May 7, 2006. Alameda - Encinal & Park times
I pick up people frequently at this spot and notice there are usually one to three cars waiting and passengers coming up on a regular basis during typical morning commute hours (7 to 9 am). I think it is difficult to make connections after (9:30 or so).
QUESTION: Why doesn't the City of Alameda post official carpooling signs at several locations along the "O" bus route? Do other cities do this?
[Other cities do set aside curb space. Alameda officials began to look into this 2½ years ago, but nothing happened. Contact was Phillip Lee, Land and Transportation Development, 510 749 5847.]
April 18, 2006. Alameda - Encinal & Park - does anyone know times?
I will be a first-time rider in Alameda on Encinal and Park Ave. I've driven by and have not seen anyone in line nor cars stopping. I'm wondering what time the car pool starts at that location. Do you know what time in the morning that people usually wait in line? When is a busy time for riders to line up at the Encinal and Park Ave location? Thanks.
April 16, 2006. Grand & Perkins - move to north side of street?
It's been about two and a half weeks since I've stopped picking up riders at the Grand Perkins gas stations spot. I felt unsafe following the lead of others lining my car up in the opposing lane of traffic (anyone coming off Grand and not paying attention could hit the first parked car head-on). I tried to be a role model and park on the north side, near the market, while putting on my emergency lights, but no one followed my lead. It just seemed more natural to point my car in the direction traffic flows. It was also frustrating to watch riders walk up to the other side and not notice me over there. I just sat until I had an incentive to try another car pool pick up area (under 580 near Grande Lake Theater).
If it's changed and become more organized, I might check it out in the morning.
April 10, 2006. Grand & Perkins - move to north side of street?
Now that we know the Shell station will be closed indefinitely, it would make a lot more sense for the casual car-pool pick-up location to be on the North side of the street in front of the corner market. There's a yellow curb there and drivers wouldn't have to either drive on the wrong side of the street to pick up passengers or turn around in the street. Would it be okay to put a sign there?
April 7, 2006. Gas station (Grand & Perkins) closed
The owner was trying to sell the gas station but since he didn't get any decent offers, he decided to just shut it down.
April 5, 2006. Advice: fastest way from Lake Merritt to the bridge
I am a rider and have compared the time it takes to get to the toll plaza on the various routes taken by drivers. The quickest way BY FAR, and consistently, is getting onto 580 at Harrison St. (if the pick up is from Perkins) or Grand Ave. (if the pick up is at Lakeshore).
Please, please, drivers, try it out. It is much faster than hitting all the traffic lights in Oakland. And DON'T take Grand all the way to the 80 onramp. It's always a mess, and gridlocked. It takes 10 minutes from the end of Grand just to get into the carpool lane.
580 rarely has heavy traffic getting into the carpool lane.
March 28, 2006. Charging for parking - Richmond Parkway
I think it is ridiculous to charge parking to commuters..if you are trying to encourage people to use public transportation.. charging for parking on top of the increase in public transportation, Buses, Bart, and on top of that gas.. give me a break..
I was using Richmond parkway to ride share.. but when I found out about the charge for parking..and the limited amount of space I decided to drive to Central ave and use the ride share on Pierce street at least there is parking and plenty of cars to pick you up..
February 28, 2006. North Berkeley to Civic Center lines
I read the e-mail from a new rider dated 2/17 and find it confusing. I have been using North Berkeley BART casual carpool for a year and would like to clarify.
There are two parallel queues -- the queue along the bushes is where you will find Civic Center riders, and the curbside queue is where riders for San Francisco wait.
The queue starts at the newspaper boxes, facing traffic (it's weird, like in an elevator).
The Civic Center-bound cars stop south of the newspaper boxes, and the San Francisco bound cars pull up to but not past the newspaper boxes.
There are occasionally drivers who hold up or place signs for "Civic Center" on their dashboard.
February 17, 2006. North Berkeley to Civic Center lines
I am new to the driver side of the casual carpool at North Berkeley BART station and found out this morning from a kindly passenger that rides to downtown SF line up beginning at the newspaper stands vs. Civic Center rides which line up ahead of the newspaper stands (more in line with the crosswalk). I haven't seen any "Civic Center" signs employed by riders or drivers.
December 6, 2005. Hudson & Claremont break-in
Just wanted to report that I have been a rider in casual carpool for about 6 months and park my car at the Hudson spot every day. This evening, I found my car had been broken into.
November 17, 2005. Letter re: Richmond parking
MM wrote to Richmond Mayor Anderson:
Dear Mayor Anderson,
I am a daily commuter from Richmond Parkway. As you probably know, the Park & Ride lot fills fairly early in the morning. As you also probably know, parking in the area is difficult. While I understand the local mall does not want commuters parking in their parking lot, I wonder why they would chase commuters from the empty parking lot between IHop and the movie theater on Klose Way. Given that most commuters park during the day and vacate spaces between 4:30 and 6:30 daily, it is frustrating to be respectful of the mall's customers, park far away and still receive notices of tow intention on your car.
I don't mind paying for parking, however, this is not an option as there is no place to pay and park. If Hilltop Park & Ride offered the benefits of carpooling, it could and would be a viable alternative. Additionally, I have been advised several places not to park on the street because of ticketing.
Several of my fellow commuters and I speak often of the problem and frustrations. What are commuters supposed to do in order to utilize Richmond Parkway Park & Ride? Is this problem a Richmond City issue, Caltrans, AC Transit, or the management of the local mall? Can anything be done, or are there plans to do anything? Getting information out to commuters can help. Right now, many of us are at a loss.
Thank you for your time.
November 1, 2005. Response re: Oakland Grand & Perkins
I don't know what the concern is about Grand and Perkins, but folks are queueing up daily in the gas station driveway.
October 19, 2005. Info request - Oakland Grand & Perkins
Has the issue of rider pick up at Grand and Perkins been resolved? Are people queueing on Perkins now? I went to pick up riders this morning and couldn't see anyone waiting. If anyone has info, please let me know. Thanks for this message board... otherwise, no way to get info.
October 18, 2005. Alameda - Webster & Santa Clara
In Alameda (West End), there is a a need to unite the pick-up location to one spot. Currently, there is not an actual posted location and random drivers stop on Webster or Santa Clara to pick up riders.
Recently, the bus stop at the corner of Santa Clara and Webster moved. It is now on Wester. Subsequently, the old location on Santa Clara is an ideal location for Casual Car-Pool pick-ups.
If you are a rider or driver, please make this the only location you stop. Also, please observe common courtesies, form a line, and inform other participants that we want an official spot on the West End.
October 11, 2005. Extend carpool hours?
Is there a way commuters could petition to have the carpooling hours extended from 3:00-7:00 to 3:00-7:30 or perhaps 8:00 pm? This is especially needed on the Vallejo commute. I notice that the wait for drivers is longer and I'm thinking it's not only due to the rising gas prices but with the work going on with the 1960 span of the Carquinez bridge which is causing more traffic. Maybe drivers feel that since it's going to be traffic anyway, why stop and pick up riders?
I resorted into taking the ferry until the project is complete, hoping that things will return to "normal", but there has to be a way to get either Caltrans or whoever is in charge of making the necessary laws for carpooling.
[As usual, I suggest contacting your city councilperson. Hopefully they could then pass it on to the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission representative, and eventually some combination of MTC and Caltrans could act on this suggestion...]
September 21, 2005. Alameda Park & Ride
Andy Anderson, City of Alameda, wrote:
The City has asked me to contact you regarding the Park & Ride lot the City established on Island Drive next to the Grand Pavilion. There are over 120 free parking spaces and there is an AC Transit Transbay bus stop at this location. Would you please disseminate this information on your web site as an option for carpoolers. Thanks. Any questions please call (510) 749-5860.
September 19, 2005. Hercules parking fees
Alan Lee, Customer Access, BART 510 464 6121 wrote:
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
PROPOSED PARKING FEES FOR THE BART OWNED
HERCULES PARK AND RIDE LOT
On Thursday, September 22, 2005, at 9:00 a.m. the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) Board will convene a public hearing for receiving comments on proposed new parking fees at the BART-owned Hercules Park and Ride lot. The purpose of establishing these parking fees is to provide priority parking to users of public transit.
The meeting will be held in the BART Board Room, 344 20th Street, 3rd floor, Oakland, California, 94612.
The Board will consider fees up to $8.00 for daily parking and a monthly reserved parking fee up to $105.00. BART staff is recommending approval of following parking options:
Comments may be made at the hearing or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information please call June Garrett, BART Government and Community Relations Representative, 510-464-6257.
September 2, 2005. Re: Hercules scary ride
Sounds to me like you were just nervous because of the type of people in the car.. how many times have you seen people flip off another driver..every one does.. and as far as not speaking..I have gotten in a car with conservative looking people suit and tie types..and said hello.. and got nothing.. "who cares" just get me to work..
I think you should relax..
August 22, 2005. Vallejo - women's self-defense
Lia Nagase wrote:
My sister passed on the posting from the woman who may be scared of the carpool because of the recent attacks. I work for a fantastic nonprofit self-defense organization whose services might help these women continue carpooling by becoming that much safer. We teach boundary-setting, de-escalation, and full-force physical techniques should they be necessary. It's really an incredible tool that's helped me ride, walk, and live more safely and has done the same for my sister, mom, many friends, and other women. More information can be found at www.impactbayarea.org. I hope that this can be offered as a potential solution.
Office Manager - Course Coordinator
Impact Bay Area
August 22, 2005. Hercules scary ride
Anon (female) wrote:
This morning, when I saw the two young people, I hesitated but since I was the only one in line and this was the only car there, I got in. The driver of the dark green 4 door car was a young male with a young female passenger. I got in, said good morning and didn't hear a reply. The driver's seat was reclined to a very low position, rap music (at least it was turned down low) was playing in the background and what really made start to feel nervous was when the young woman in the front passenger side gave the finger to a car that braked too quickly in front of us. The driver drove fast whenever he had an opportunity to. There was one close call when the driver had to suddenly brake because he driving so fast. The dropoff was fine, but this is one car that I'll pass on next time. This license plate ends in W861.
August 15, 2005. New rider - afraid at Vallejo
I'm new to Vallejo, and am beginning to quest into what casual carpooling might be like. I'm concerned, however, having read the terrible attack stories about the Lemon Street pickup area. Has this changed? Should I be utterly freaked out and alarmed?
For years, I picked up riders at Fruitvale and hauled them into the city, and it was efficient and wonderful, however, I know nothing about the Vallejo scene, and I've never been a rider, only a driver.
Can anyone tell me if the single chick should be petrified given recent events? I'm reluctant to try it out after reading the messages.
July 29, 2005. Ped Xing at Richmond Parkway
If you have trouble crossing the intersection of Richmond Parkway and Blume Drive after using the carpool in the evening, I urge you to call the City of Richmond at 510-307-8112 and speak to Steven Tam. I've had many close encounters with cars as it is very difficult to cross the street with the green light because the cars that have dropped off carpoolers head back to the freeway on Blume, make a quick stop (or forget to stop) at the red light, make a right turn onto Richmond Parkway, thus making it dangerous for pedestrians to step off the curb. In all fairness, the drivers cannot see that the light for pedestrians has turned green and they are anxious to get home. Many pedestrians jaywalk on Blume near the Chevron station because it's very dangerous to cross at the light. There have been many times where I was unable to cross at the green light because of cars driving through their red light as they make their right turn. This is a potentially dangerous situation and it would be great if pedestrians would help make this intersection safe by calling Mr. Tam. Thank you so much!
[Even more important is a written letter. Once it's in writing the legal implications are very strong.]
July 27, 2005. Assault near Beale St.
On Monday July 25th around 5:30 PM, I witnessed an attack on Folsom St. between Beale St. and Main St. I'm not sure who was at fault (started the fight) but as our carpool rounded the corner from Beale St. onto Folsom, we saw the truck of the carpool that had just picked up before my driver pulled over to the side of the road and the driver of that truck beating up one of his passengers while the other passenger of the truck had already gotten out and was on the phone to - I'm assuming - the police. The driver (after he was done punching his passenger) rushed back to his black 4-seater truck. The passenger who he assaulted took down the license plate number and then got on his phone - again I'm assuming to the police. I'm not sure what provoked this altercation, but I think it would be safe for everyone to avoid this driver just in case. He's a white male with fairly tanned skin and minimal facial hair (a goatee), dirty blonde hair, about 6', 180 pounds and I would say he was in his mid to late 30's. Again, he drove a black truck that could seat people in the back. The windows were tinted. The truck was fairly dirty, and the driver didn't wear "professional" clothing, just jeans, sweatshirt, hat and construction type boots. Any information on this would be greatly appreciated. I also send out my apologies and hopes that whoever was not at fault is okay and unharmed.
July 25, 2005. Lafayette - 1st come, 1st served
Normally I pick up at either Moraga or Orinda locations. As a driver when picking up at the Lafayette BART Carpool location, I have had two recent experiences that compel me to write.
1st - my wife and I were third in line behind two other cars and a gentleman walked up and got in the back seat of our car. I was caught off guard and said to him that "there are two other cars in front of us." He responded "yeah, but you already had two people in your car and now we can go." I told him "no, that would be rude to the two drivers in front who have been waiting longer than me." He said "are you sure" and I said "YES."
2nd - This morning I was first in line and a gentleman got into the car. After waiting less than five minutes he said "there is a car back there that already has two people in it (third car in line), do you mind if I go with them?" I asked "are you serious?" He then said "yes" and I responded "I think it's rude but if that is what you want to do then fine. Please get out of my car and just remember that if you ever want a ride from me you can forget it."
The problem as I see it is that passengers and drivers alike should be a lot more considerate by sticking to a first-come first-served model. After discussing this with a few other passengers and drivers they feel the same. What was especially interesting was how strong the feelings are about this subject.
I can tell you that based on these experiences that I mentioned above I will not be picking up at Lafayette.
July 25, 2005. Vallejo parking lot assault - comment
I would to add that if a passenger has parked inside the parking lot, it's a good idea to walk with someone who looks as if they're going in that same direction who is also a SF/Vallejo commuter. I myself don't park my car inside the lot anymore because of the stories I heard from other commuters about break-ins. I will see what I can do (call) to have some more security around the area, especially after something as serious as an assault...
July 21, 2005. Vallejo parking lot assault
On Tuesday, July 19th, around 5:45 p.m., my daughter and I were attacked at the Vallejo Park and Ride lot by three black teenagers. Please warn others to be careful.
July 20, 2005. Vallejo parking lot assault
I just moved to Vallejo about 3 weeks ago. I've been using the Vallejo casual carpool in the morning and evening to travel to work in San Francisco. On Tuesday, July 19, 2005 at approximately 5:30pm, I arrived at the Curtola Park & Ride in Vallejo at Lemon Street and began to walk to the rear of the Park & Ride lot to retrieve my car. There were two Asian women walking behind me to their cars which were parked in the rear of the lot as well.
There was a parked white SUV with a baby crying in it. The baby's cry is what caused me to notice the parked SUV. When I looked up, I saw a black teenager about 5' 4" wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt and black pants exiting from the SUV. Because I had arrived at my car, I looked away to open my door and clear the windshield of paper flyers. Then I began to start my car and back out of my parking spot.
As I backed out, I looked out of my passenger window and saw 3 teenage black men (the white SUV had disappeared). They began to run quickly after the two Asian women who were now attempting to get into their separately parked cars. I became afraid and attempted to get to safety. I saw one of the Asian women on the ground trying to get up. It looked like she was trying to hold on to her purse. Then I pulled over in the lot and honked at a chartered bus. The driver began to witness the event as well. I called 911 and the operator told me that the bus driver had called as well.
July 19, 2005. More on discriminating drivers
I would like to second PR's comments about drivers who pick up individuals of their own race. I experienced the same instance on more then one occasion and it is hurtful and in one instance I was picked up by two african americans and they were obviously not happy about giving a ride to a caucasian man. It was downright rude and I would never treat someone the way I was so if I had my choice of the two situations I would say to those people who don't like people of certain races: Continue to pick up those of your same race because I would not want anyone to be subjected to riding with someone that doesn't like me because of my race and has no idea of who I am as a person. Discrimination is ignorance no matter what color package it comes in.
July 13, 2005. Vallejo discriminating drivers
I would like to add to the Message Board that I am not pleased with some of the drivers who, instead of picking up the first person in line, seek out someone of their nationality. I've had several drivers pull up past me and scope out individuals of their same race. I enjoy casual carpooling to and from work each day but if I continue to feel leery when a driver of a different race approaches and I find myself wondering if he or she is going to pass me up, then maybe I'll just convert back to taking the bus.
I know people have a right to pick up anyone they want to, but let's have some consideration here for a person's feelings if they're "left behind" over something they have NO control over.
July 6, 2005. Re: "driver comments"
The posting from SD on 06/29/05 in response to "driver comments" about liability coverage is inaccurate. Your auto liability insurance cannot be carried from you as a driver to you as a passenger in someone else's car. Your auto insurance policy is limited to the auto(s) your policy covers and at the most, you (and your family) as pedestrians (if you have certain liability coverage).
We should respect a driver's decision if they only want to pick up 2 people and not fill their car to its capacity. Carpools will work as long as we carpool, period - no matter how few or many we carry.
According to my insurance policy, carpooling will not affect a policy unless you make a business of it, i.e., by accepting more than what would be considered gas money.
July 5, 2005. Emeryville activity
I saw a note on the carpool locations that the Emeryville location at Powell & Commodore doesn't appear to be used. I use it daily in the mornings (both as a driver or a passenger) and wanted to let you know that several people use this location.
I've ridden as early as 7:30 and as late as 9, and have seen a mixture of both passengers and riders at all times.
One thing to note is that if there are no cars, passengers typically hop on the Emeryville-San Francisco shuttle run by one of the community HOAs. This bus picks up at the same location at the top of each hour from 6a-9a (and drops off approx. quarter till, starting at 4:45). Aside from those times, there always seems to be a line of people waiting for rides.
July 5, 2005. Emeryville activity (#2)
The Emeryville marina location is still active, except that the drivers tend to stop by early. One has a better chance of getting in a car if he/she shows up before 8:45 am. Another good thing about this location is that even if there is no car by 8:45 am, one can still get to the city by buying a ticket ($4.50) for the 8:55 am chartered shuttle that picks up local Emeryville residents (at the same location) and dropping them off 101 California in the financial district. One may also board the same bus back to Emeryville in the evening from the 101 California Street location. The evening schedule is 4:15, 5:15, 6:16 and 7:10 pm.
June 29, 2005. Richmond Parkway - vandalism
I have been carpooling for 7 years from Richmond Pkwy. This Park & Ride used to be clean and safe, until numerous bus lines were added. For the past year, I have noticed more broken glasses and tow trucks around the parking lot. In Jan 2005, I found one of my tires punctured with 2 nails, 1 on the side. Last April, 2 of my tires were punctured again with 4 nails. Pls be aware and check your car every time you get back in the afternoon. File a police report when something happens to your car, and hopefully it'll get someone's attention to add more security or surveillance in the area.
[Again, perhaps contact Richmond Mayor Irma Anderson 510-620-6503 to see if she can help get increased patrols/surveillance from the CHP.]
June 29, 2005. Re: "driver comments"
Yes, the casual carpool is a "give-and take." I also find it annoying when people pull out their cell phones in the car as well as eating to be rude and annoying. I also find the same behavior annoying on the bus.
I have had the same problem with drivers talking on their cell phones (and they are usually the drivers weaving in and out of traffic, slamming on their brakes, basically driving reckless). Need I mention the drivers who blast their radios and the passengers are forced to listen?
As to the liability issue which is your excuse for not taking extra passengers - most passengers who use the casual car pool own cars and have their own insurance policies, which would cover them as a passenger in your car, not just their own car, so liability should not be an issue as to your refusal to take extra passengers if you have the space in your car.
Carpools will only work if the drivers pick up passengers (and have passengers to pick up) and speaking as a passenger waiting for a ride at the end of the day, it is annoying when there is a line of 20+ passengers and drivers only take the required amount of people and have room for others in their cars.
Also, keep in mind the passenger is basically held hostage in the driver's car. The driver is the person in control. If someone is eating, talking on their cell phone, etc., you do have the right to speak up. The passenger does not have the right to make demands on the driver because we are in their vehicle.
One last thing, when a passengers gets into someone's car, we have no idea if they are responsible drivers or if their tires and car are in good repair, etc. We are basically putting our safety at risk.
Overall, my experience with the casual car pool has been great. Yes, occasionally I have a ride that makes me nervous about continuing to use the carpool, but, this is occasional and even if I need to wait extra time, I will not get into a car that does not look "safe" or if the driver gives me a "feeling" of danger.
June 29, 2005. Thank you, carpool!
I've been driving Vallejo to SF commute for the past three years. I tried the casual carpool this June 2005, picking up riders to SF in Vallejo in the morning and Beale St. to Vallejo in the afternoon. I found it to be a pleasant experience to breeze thru traffic via the carpool lane, no bridge toll fee and have never been late in my work this month. The riders I've picked up were all nice, pleasant, and courteous and never had any negative experience. I guess, I'm now a casual carpool convert!
June 29, 2005. Increase Fairfield Activity?
I just wanted to ask if anyone knows of a way we can get a little more activity going at the Fairfield location. As it currently stands majority of us from the Northeast (Sac/Vaca/Fairfield etc.) use the Vallejo site. I would surely love to use the new Fairfield park and ride site. It's new, has plenty of parking, and has a garage with fewer vandals. Right now it's just too slow. Hopefully this pending strike will give it a shot in the arm. I plan on trying it out in efforts to give my support and I hope those of you from the mentioned areas would do the same. Thank you.
June 24, 2005. Driver comments
I've been picking up casual carpoolers for over five years now and I know there are riders that have been riders for longer than that. I think there are some basics that people have forgotten. Casual carpool is a give-and-take.
I pick up two riders in the evening, and I know that the lines are long at times coming from San Francisco. Drivers are not required to pick up more than the number of riders they need. It is not because we are rude, we have to think of the liability we have if we should, God forbid, have an accident. I drive an SUV and my vehicle seats 7. However, I cannot afford the liability if 6 passengers decide to sue me should there be an accident. So please don't get angry when the driver says, "only one" or "only two."
Please riders, remember, it's not that the drivers are rude when we refuse to take more than one or two passengers. We are being responsible.
Also, getting into a driver's car and having long extensive conversations on your cell phone in the car and eating are just a little rude unless the driver doesn't have a problem. I don't think the riders would appreciate drivers having long extensive cell phone conversations or smoking, or eating while driving. It's getting a little too casual.
I am not the self-appointed driver spokesperson, basically just thought I'd offer some suggestions.
June 22, 2005. Car stolen - Richmond Parkway
I commute from the Richmond Parkway park-and-ride to San Francisco. My truck was stolen from the Richmond Parkway lot on June 22. I filed a police report with the CHP (1-707-551-4100). I have noticed extensive broken glass in the parking lot over the past several weeks and noticed that another car was broken into yesterday (June 21) requiring tow truck service. Please be warned of the potential for loss or damage to your vehicle when using the Richmond Parkway transit parking lot.
Caltrans owns the lot and it is under CHP jurisdiction, not the Richmond Police.
[Perhaps contact Richmond Mayor Irma Anderson 510-620-6503 to see if she can help get increased patrols/surveillance from the CHP.]
June 14, 2005. Bike stolen - North Berkeley
I have been commuting from North Berkeley for a month or two via casual carpool and have been VERY happy with it. I bike to North Berkeley to catch my ride, however, and yesterday my bike was stolen. One other bike was reported stolen that same day, and I have since learned that North Berkeley has more bike thefts than any other Bart station. Useful info, perhaps, for other casual carpoolers. I will be buying another bike and riding to Downtown Berkeley Bart instead, because they have an attended bike parking facility (http://www.bfbc.org/about/about.php).
Perhaps Downtown Berkeley would be a good venue for another casual carpool.
[It is difficult to start a new site. See this in FAQ.]
June 12, 2005. Del Norte: don't park in OSH
The HomeLife store where the carpool is located (near El Cerrito del Norte station) is now an OSH, and so they really don't want people parking there.
June 10, 2005. Richmond Parkway car break-in
I leave my car at the Richmond Parkway parking lot every day and take casual carpool to SF. Yesterday (6/9/05) I arrived at the parking lot at 4 pm from work and found my car with a broken front driver side window. The faceplate on my car stereo was missing and the glove compartment was ransacked. I found the faceplate later under the seats. The car stereo is brand new (just two months old) and probably much harder to steal.
I also talked to another person in the parking lot whose car was broken into also that day. There's also another parking space with "fresh" broken glass but the car must have left already. This means there's at least 3 break-ins yesterday.
I tried to report the incident to the police, first with the Pinole police department, then I was referred to the Richmond police, then I was told to call the CHP. I just gave up after a while going through a very long phone menu.
I just want to warn people who use the Richmond Parkway parking lot about this situation.
June 2, 2005. Alameda site neighbor: what about us?
Has anyone given any thought to the residents of Park Avenue, Encinal, Regent, etc.? For several years now we have endured a total lack of street parking in front of our homes, inconsiderate casual carpoolers who block our driveways and then head off to work, or who leave their cars parked in front of our homes for long weekends or week-long trips. If we leave our parking space for several minutes (even in the middle of the day), it is taken immediately and we have no place to park within a four-block radius of our homes.
The corner at Park Avenue and Encinal is dangerous - it is too congested and having carpoolers stop there to pick up riders is difficult. Many people use Encinal Avenue to transport their children to Alameda High; residents use that street to go to work; there are a number of businesses in that area that bring further traffic. Why not lobby the city for a park and ride lot? I understand there is one at Island Drive and Doolittle - does anyone use it?
There are times when I have seen four to six cars parked waiting for riders, while other times I see in excess of 12 people waiting for rides. I worry about the pedestrians in this area. It's just a matter of time before someone is hurt. There has to be a better way!
June 1, 2005. Reopen Beale St. under Bay Bridge
I was talking with someone at San Francisco City Hall recently and he said that the closure of Beale St underpass was due to safety concerns after 9/11. He figures that this concern has passed and the street should be reopened. It would make it way more convenient for casual carpoolers to get to the dedicated HOV onramp at Stirling.
He said he has asked the Highway Patrol a few times without any luck. He said it was too bad that the casual carpoolers are not more organised so that they could also put pressure on the Highway Patrol.
[Does anyone know the right contact information for the Highway Patrol?]
May 6, 2005. Alameda - repaint curb?
SK sent this email to Alameda City officials:
Dear City Manager:
I am a casual carpool driver. Every morning, I pick up casual carpoolers at the intersection of Encinal and Park Ave, where the San Francisco Bound AC-transit bus stop is located. The sidewalk has a very long red curb, which prohibits vehicles from stopping and picking up carpoolers away from the bus stop. This morning, my carpoolers told me that someone was ticketed for picking up casual carpoolers. I understand that vehicles shall not be allowed to interrupt bus loading and operation. However, I don't agree with giving tickets to vehicles stopping away from the bus stop, where the vehicles do not interrupt bus operations.
Can the City remove a portion of the red paint on curb between the ADA ramp at the crosswalk and the ramp termini, and replace it with a white paint for car-poolers to use as a legal passenger-loading zone? This mentioned area is located away from the bus loading and operating area. It will not block the bus from turning in and out from the bus stop. If there is concern about the lane width, you could simply re-stripe the ramp to accommodate one travel lane and one parking lane.
Hopefully, I hear from you soon.
Thanks for your help.
[Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson responded, saying that "at first glance," she agreed. She wondered whether the citations were issued by Alameda police officers.]
April 22, 2005. Park and Hampel sign needed
There is no Casual Carpool sign at Park and Hampel. Quite often I see people wandering between the bus stop on Park, and Hampel (cars actually stop on Hampel). I'm afraid that if there isn't a sign, people who would have joined CC will give up.
April 3, 2005. Alameda spot around corner?
The reason why the corner of Encinal and Park is a red zone is because it is a bus stop (and all bus stops are red zones) and the space right after the bus stop is a narrow lane which only one car will fit through so any cars stopped there block traffic.
From what I've heard from other commuters (don't know if it is true) -- there were some Alameda police officers having coffee across the street when they saw cars backing up into the street and causing a hazard for oncoming traffic. When they tried to start ticketing, they were informed that this was a casual car pool location. They were supportive of the carpool and suggested pickups around the corner past the red zone. They were understanding and even put up a handmade side at the bus stop that says: "Casual Carpool around the corner on Park Ave". The problem is that there because there is no formal sign at the "potentially new" pickup location round the corner, people are ignoring it.
March 24, 2005. Alameda tickets
I noticed a comment about getting a spot in oakland legalized (or better accomodated) for Casual Carpooling. Do you have any further suggestions for getting Park Ave and Encinal in Alameda straightened out? I have contacted the Mayor's office and expect a return phone call from them. I have also requested from the Alameda Police an explanation why the corner of Encinal and Park Ave. is a red zone. Today (3/24) they are ticketing again and I want to make Alameda a commuter friendly city. It makes no sense why we wouldn't want casual carpooling to exist and thrive in our community.
[Others may want to ask Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson (510 747 4701) for help.]
March 22, 2005. Lafayette parking query
I drive to work every morning from Martinez to the city. I used to stop by the Lafayette BART station to pick up carpoolers but now often wait at least 20 minutes since the parking validation program began (pick up around 6:20 a.m.) at Lafayette. Does anyone know of anywhere better to pick up carpoolers without having to wait 20 minutes in the surrounding area or at least on my way to work?
March 17, 2005. Grand & Perkins sorted out
Things at Grand and Perkins seem to have sorted themselves out. Cars line up Perkins street going in the direction of Grand. If any drivers are reading this, it would be advisable to arrive from Perkins Street rather than from Grand, as otherwise you'll have to turn your car around on a narrow street. Hopefully the project at the Shell station won't take long.
March 16, 2005. Grand & Perkins alternative?
Seems more motorists are beginning to line up at Grand/Perkins again, but as mentioned in a previous posting, I can see how the situation can lead to some problems. One of the leading problems is that motorists are now lining up squarely into the bus stop, which may lead to problems with busses, not to mention big fines. One solution may be to start the passenger line farther up Perkins. That may alleviate some of the problem, as cars will have more room to line up on a relatively quiet street rather than down Grand. Other alternatives may be to find another temporary pick-up zone…the Ahn’s Burgers lot at Grand/Bellevue seems pretty quiet at that hour. But I have no idea how to organize such a shift, unless a lot of people happen to be reading this. [Perhaps check with others in line for a "consensus," then maybe a sign, and/or printed flyers, plus word of mouth? -- Dan]
March 15, 2005. Grand & Perkins updates
I pick up at Grand & Perkins between 6 and 6:30am. I noticed cars backing into the lip of the exit driveway on Perkins at the fenced off gas station. There is only room for two cars here, and then the others tend to park whereever they can on either side. The linear sense of order is hard to figure out and I'm thinking it will probably lead to some level of tension between drivers.
This situation could also lead to congestion and hazards around the corner.
In the early morning hours I think the station side of Grand starting just before the bus zone is pretty empty. This would allow cars to sit in line and wait to pick up riders. Leave your headlights or hazards on to draw attention. I'm not sure it will work but it's worth a try.
This morning there were far more riders than cars when I arrived. I hope that this construction doesn't snarl this spot long-term for folks.
while RC wrote:
This morning commuters seemed to adapt well to the construction at the Shell station, which has closed the usual pick up spot. Riders lined up along the sidewalk going up Perkins, and cars picked up right on Perkins.
March 14, 2005. Construction snarl: Oakland - Grand & Perkins
FYI for the carpool community, this morning the carpool location at Oakland -- Grand & Perkins was disrupted with construction at the Shell station that has essentially eliminated access to the station and thus cars are unable to line up for carpool riders. All access to the station was blocked to vehicular traffic.
I'm not sure if this is temporary or will be ongoing for a while... but it will be a big problem for this stop if there's nowhere for cars to line up.
February 3, 2005. Parking at BART
JH wrote (in response to "BART parking for $5/day," January 7, 2005):
Rather than $5 a day, isn't it cheaper to just use a ticket, enter, validate parking, and exit to the casual carpool? Am I missing something?
January 30, 2005. New site for carpool "blogging"
I wanted to see if you had any stories from either your own, or your community's experience, that would be a good read. I am pulling together a blog of entertaining tales from both a rider and a driver perspective, as well as providing 'Backseat Comment Cards' to help give feedback in a non-confrontational way. http://carpool-tunnel-syndrome.com
January 28, 2005. Alameda site in trouble
On Friday, January 28, 2005, I arrived at the pick-up location in Alameda at Encinal and Park to see a police officer telling cars they can not stop here any longer. I called the Alameda Police to try and find out why and was told it is a red zone and it is blocking traffic. I asked if they could tell me who was complaining to see if we can come up with an alternative solution and I was told that "curbs are painted red for a reason". If anyone else wants to call and try to help figure out a better place to have a pick-up spot you can call the non-emergency police of Alameda at (510) 337-8340. (Or ask Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson 510 747 4701 for help -- ed.)
January 20, 2005. Lakeshore/Grand bad driver
To start off, I would like to say that I think Casual Carpool is great! I take it almost every day (from Lakeshore/Grand 580 pickup) and 9/10 times have a great experience. In fact, just yesterday, my driver was so kind that he dropped off all three riders (he took an extra one because there were no cars) at separate locations, insisting that it was no problem to take me a block from my office.
Today, however, I was picked up by an elderly african-american man driving a brand new ford taurus (no plates yet) that is very dark green -- almost black. The car has a disabled tag on the rearview mirror. The driver was very friendly and nice but was a terrible driver. Pulling out of the lot, he drove out into oncoming traffic without looking, causing a car to slam on the brakes and honk. Then, a block later, he cut into another lane without signaling, causing another driver to honk and brake suddenly. Needless to say, I was worried to get on the freeway, especially when his phone rings and he answers it and talks ALL THE WAY to the drop off in SF. He could not focus and was driving about 15-20mph slower than everyone else on the bridge and freeway. I was very relieved to get out of the car and would encourage others not to ride with this man. I feel bad about this because he really was very nice, I simply think he was too elderly and did not have quick enough reflexes to be a safe driver.
January 11, 2005. Fairfield site moving Jan 31
The Fairfield site is moving down the block. Effective January 31, pickup and dropoff will take place at the corner of Cadenasso Drive and Magellan Road. This new location, adjacent to the new parking lot at the Fairfield Transportation Center, takes advantage of three sheltered wait areas built for casual carpool.
January 7, 2005. BART parking for $5/day
Many Lafayette carpoolers are parking on the street (it's $5) quite a ways away from the carpool site. I've found that you can go to BART's website and pay for "long term" parking and pay for a week (or a day) ($5/day). Just print the permit, and place it in your car's window, and you don't need to validate at the station. And you can park much much closer...
This works at most BART stations actually, not just Lafayette.
December 29, 2004. Richmond Parkway - more parking some day?
Parris Rollins wrote to Richmond Mayor Irma Anderson:
Hello, I am a fellow commuter who uses the park & ride lot at the Richmond Parkway. By 7am the lot is usually full and this makes it difficult to find street parking when the police are issuing tickets.
For the process to work, the lot should be increased, my wishful thinking, but I know that this takes time, money and planning. Please respond back if you have any solutions to this matter. You can also check the Rideshare.org website and read about all the carpool news and stories pertaining to this matter.
I appreciate your time in reading this message. Thanks
Here is her response:
Hi Parris -
I just wanted to let you know that I am very pleased to see people taking advantage of our extensive public transportation system. I am working with our local and regional transportation planning commissions to earmark more funds for expanding parking spaces/structures. It is a time consuming and expensive task, but letters like your give elected officials like me the leverage to prioritize this project.
Feel free to contact me with any additional concerns or questions that you may have.
Irma L. Anderson, Mayor
City of Richmond
PO Box 4046
Richmond, CA 94804
December 22, 2004. Please drivers, pick up every day!
Apparently, some of you only pick up casual carpool passengers when you've heard reports of bad traffic on the Bay Bridge. In order for the system to work well, there needs to be a consistent supply of both drivers and riders.
Please, if you drive every day, do your part and pick up riders every day! Even when the traffic's lighter, you'll still bypass the toll plaza lines and bridge metering lights, and you'll save three dollars a day.
December 22, 2004. Park Blvd - more riders at Hampel than Hollywood
If you're a driver who's been frustrated waiting for passengers at Hollywood and Park Blvd., try checking out Hampel Street at Park instead. More than once recently, I've been picked up on Hampel by drivers who said there was a long line of cars on Hollywood, while Hampel had a long line of riders.
December 16, 2004. Oakland Park and Hampel - more tickets
Alex Pedersen, Policy Analyst / Legislative Aide for City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, wrote:
We are still hopeful the new No Parking signs (10 a.m. to noon) will discourage all-day parkers, so that the casual carpoolers can freely use the west side of Hampel Street (at Park Blvd). The City had considered a No Parking sign from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., but our Traffic Engineers argued that the 10 a.m. to noon should work. Unfortunately, there was a small car parked there illegally on 12/15 which messed up our plans, but the City ticketed that car. Let's give the "10-noon" signs a chance for the next few weeks. We'll re-evaluate this at the start of the new year.
December 10, 2004. Oakland Park and Hampel changes
Alex Pedersen, Policy Analyst / Legislative Aide for City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, wrote:
As promised, the City has taken action to make it a bit easier for casual carpoolers to use the area at Park Blvd and Hampel Street while trying to maximize safety for drivers and pedestrians. On Hampel Street, we removed some of the red line from the curb while installing signs that discourage all-day parkers. The signs read "No Parking 10:00 a.m. to Noon" along the border of the vacant lot. Yes, the time seems odd, but our Traffic Engineers decided that is the best way to allow casual carpool cars in the mornings, but to discourage all-day parkers.
Please continue to respect the homeowners on Hampel - if the carpooling cars back-up too far (blocking active driveways), please consider a different casual carpool site for that day or a time that is less busy.
I know there are many ideas on how to approach this issue (move the casual carpool site, move the bus stop, etc.) but this is what we're going to try.
Those of you who received tickets on Park Blvd (@ Hampel) for stopping in what may or may not have been a bus zone (on Park Blvd), we encourage you to call the Alameda County Sheriff's Department to appeal: 510-268-7901.
Thank you for taking the time to contact Ignacio.
December 6, 2004. Contesting Glenview citations?
I am interested in hearing from anyone who has TRIED to contest their citations.
I received a ticket on Nov. 17 even though I was NOT in the red zone marking the AC Transit bus zone.
December 6, 2004. Alameda query
Renee R. wrote:
As a confirmed carpooler at the Park Blvd. sites in Oakland thinking of moving to Alameda, I'm researching information about carpooling to SF.
I'm used to getting a ride easily at one of the Park Blvd. locations in Oakland - can someone who uses the Alameda Encinal and Park queue give me an idea of how long it generally takes to catch a ride at about 8 or 8:15 in the morning? Steady stream of cars and steady group of people needing a ride? Thanks!
Also - noted on the Alameda city website (http://www.inyourcity.net/carpool-0603.php) that the car pool location is listed at Island Drive and Doolittle Drive - is it a more reliable location for a ride?
That site also listed a carpool coming from Beale in SF (between Howard and Folsom) - I walk by this location after work every night to get AC Transit home, and haven't seen cars lined up going to Alameda - anyone with information about car pool heading east?
Many thanks in advance! -- Renee R.
November 24, 2004. Richmond Parkway parking tickets
I have been parking on the AutoMall street there in Hilltop for 4 years. By 7:30 AM there is no parking left at the Richmond Park and ride. Last night when I got back to my car, there was a $30.00 ticket on my windshield. I noticed that all the other cars were also ticketed. Where are we supposed to park? There is no place left. Many of us will not be able to carpool if it is like this.
November 19, 2004. More Park and Hampel news
Alex Pedersen, Policy Analyst / Legislative Aide for City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, wrote:
We have been closely following the traffic issue at Hampel and Park Blvd and Council President De La Fuente wants to help to develop a solution that balances the concerns of carpoolers while trying to maximize safety at the intersection.
To work on a solution, I met this afternoon with officials from the Mayor's Office, Traffic Engineering (City), and Parking Enforcement (City) as well as a representative from the Glenview Neighborhood Association (GNA). I also spoke separately to Greg Harper from AC Transit.
It is my understanding that the Alameda County Sheriff's Department DOES issue tickets for those stopping their cars in an AC Transit bus zone (Park Blvd for example). Therefore, the City will do its part to make it easier to use Hampel (where the carpoolers had been wrapping-around from Park). This will probably involve adjusting the red line(s) and improving signage on Hampel so that more carpoolers can fit on Hampel while discouraging day-long parking in that small section.
We have considered all of the other thoughtful and creative suggestions based on phone calls and e-mails we have received recently and we think this is the quickest and most balanced approach. Look for improvements to the situation in a week or so.
Please spread the word to any carpoolers who you might know. Thank you for keeping us informed about this issue.
November 19, 2004. Park and Hampel
Mary R. adds:
They're going to put up signs on Hampel saying No Parking 10-3, to discourage all-day parkers and thus cut down on double-parking, as there will be more room for casual carpoolers. The idea is to make more room on Hampel, and discourage use of Park Blvd. An AC Transit rep was at the meeting, so presumably there shouldn't be any more ticketing. We hope. It's possible Alex will get complaints from Hampel residents, and if so, they'll try another solution.
Let's hope this works!
November 19, 2004. Park and Hampel news
From Mary R.:
I spoke with Alex (Peterson?) at Councilmember De La Fuente's office, and apparently his people are meeting with the Glen View Neighborhood Assn today about the casual carpool situation. I told him about the two suggested locations, and he said he'd bring those up. He's going to contact me with the results of the meeting, and I"ll email you with those.
I took carpool today -- didn't see the police or sheriff anywhere, and there were a couple cars waiting, so maybe they have eased off. No gravitation to any other spot yet. The church lot would be great, but I think the Council would need to approach them officially to get them on board. Liability issues and all.
November 18, 2004. Alt locs for Park and Hampel
Mary R. provided this update:
I called the church to see about using their parking lot, as of course we should get their permission first. The woman had never heard of casual carpool (!) and asked me to write it up for the elders of the church to approve. Wednesday mornings won't work for them as there are things going on at the church. Also, I imagine that liability issues might prompt them to say no.
So maybe the other spot mentioned below is better. If that doesn't work out, I'll write up a letter to the elders. Would be nice to get de la Fuentes office involved. I've got a call in to see about making a site official.
Mary R. (415-487-1950 day)
November 17, 2004. Rockridge auto break-in
Greta L wrote:
I just wanted to report -- and warn other carpoolers -- that my car was broken into on Hudson street near the Rockridge carpool spot. The passenger window was smashed and my cd player was stolen. This happened on Monday November 15th, sometime between 9:20am and 6:40pm. If anyone saw anything or has information they can call me at 650-468-4859. And please, everyone, make sure to lock your cars and don't leave anything valuable in them.
November 17, 2004. Oakland Park and Hampel tickets
Let's use the parking lot of the church across the street (if it's not blocked off). The entrance is on Hampel, just north of Park Blvd.
If the lot is blocked off, let's switch to the southeast corner on Hampel just south of Park Blvd.
Wanted you to know I rode in a casual carpool pickup at the HampelXPark Blvd. site that received a ticket for stopping in a bus stop zone. So it has gone beyond warnings. Will contact the city council member sites as well as AC Transit Board members and maybe others. Thanks for keeping this issue alive. We are going to discuss the possibility of moving the bus stop 1/2 block uphill, where there is another current AC transit bus stop. I know some folks plan to contest tickets they receive.
November 17, 2004. Oakland Park and Hampel tickets
Can you tell me who is responsible for designating "official" casual carpool locations in the East Bay? We have one at Park Blvd and Hollywood in Oakland, but our very active bus stop location at Park Blvd and Hampel is now being ticketed. I'd like to inquire about getting an "offical" spot nearby.
Thanks in advance.
The phone number I have for Oakland Public Works is 238 3466. Give them a try, as well as the City Council members listed on the main page.
November 17, 2004. Oakland Park and Hampel tickets
The sheriff gave several $250.00 tickets today with no warning and I was one of them. Let’s see if we can move the carpool to the church parking lot just across the street. If the church doesn’t mind it could work just fine, unless it is considered trespassing. Enter the parking lot on Hampel St. and exit on Park St. Any problems with using private property in the past? I think it would be the route with the least amount of complaints.
November 17, 2004. Oakland Park and Hampel tickets
Mary R. wrote:
Hi Dan. They were ticketing at Hampel and Park this morning -- big tickets, for blocking the bus zone. This pick-up site needs to move-- perhaps to the site mentioned by the person who posted recently? How do we make this happen? What is the procedure for establishing a new spot? Should someone put a sign up at Hampel and Park redirecting drivers and riders across the way?? My phone number is 415-487-1950 if anyone wants to reach me about this.
I was in a car this morning that was pulled over and ticketed for stopping in a bus zone. Officer said he ticketed 14 carpoolers this a.m. Seems AC Transit are complaining about the problem. The carpool stop needs to be moved. I suggest down further on Park near Park Blvd. Way. There's a triangle shaped section of street that would be perfect.
November 12, 2004. Oakland Park and Hampel tickets
I understand that someone from the City of Oakland informed carpool drivers at Hampel and Park Blvd. that they will begin ticketing cars stopped to pick up passengers because of complaints about traffic congestion at the intersection. Seems that if they made a half-block of Hampel north of Park "No Parking" 7 am to 9 am, it would solve the problem. Who can we write at the City of Oakland? This is such a great system, it would be a shame to lose it.
November 11, 2004. Oakland Park and Hampel tickets
I want to bring attention to possibility of no more carpool at Park & Hampel. On Wednesday 11/10 there was an Oakland parking official giving notices to drivers picking up carpoolers, apparently next time they will be giving tickets. I can understand that the residents of that street are upset with the line of cars in front of their houses every morning, the street is narrow and it's difficult for other drivers to make their turn onto Park Blvd. I would be frustrated too. So I'd like to know the best way of maybe moving the pick up area to a better location and making it an official site with a sign like the one on Oakland Ave & Monte Vista, that way we could also avoid blocking the bus stop. I'd like to suggest the south-east (?) corner on Hampel just before turning left onto Park heading to the freeway, I don't think it would block any driveways and it is a much wider street so that other cars can get by. Let me know how this can work, I would hate to lose that location.
October 11, 2004. Casual carpool-like program for Marin headlands
Thanks for having this message board. I've had nothing but positive experiences as a casual carpooler - and I starting using the program as a high schooler between 1990-1993 when commuting from Berkeley to SF! I still use it to get to SF where I work as a Transportation Planner.
I want to mention that in a recent internship that I had with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, I was able to instigate a similar program - dubbed “Green Wheels” - for the people who have offices based in the Marin Headlands-Fort Baker Area. If you are curious about how it works, check out the (very rough) website listed below and please support the creation of like programs by spreading the word to people who work in areas that are similarly transit-starved, suffer from congested roadways, and really have only one entry/exit roadway. These are the main ingredients for a start-up informal ridesharing system. It especially helps people who are 1) too young to drive 2) too scared to drive 3) physically unable to drive and finally 4) adverse to driving alone (or driving at all)! Thanks for casual carpooling! Happy commuting!
The Green Wheels website is hosted by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area: http://www.nps.gov/goga/planning/greenwheels/
October 1, 2004. Line courtesy
If everyone could just be courteous, even though there aren't any specific rules, but in the AM when there is a line of cars waiting for riders, I notice some cars will pull out of the line and pick up people coming up the street. This is really noticeable at the Vallejo park and ride. People will drive up and down Lemon Street and pick up riders and it just isn't fair for the people waiting in line like they're supposed to do. One guy even said that he has to get down to the Park and Ride 20 minutes earlier than usual because of the wait.
It's not fair. So please, as a reminder, be courteous!
September 20, 2004. Tailgating driver
Don't ride with Black Montero Sport SUV at Oakland Lake Merritt!
I didn't get the license plate, but this middle-aged african american gent loves to tailgate and cut people off. This guy has to jam on the gas to try to pass up other carpoolers before cutting into the HOV lane. (Not to mention my seat belt didn't work.)
Well, OK! Drive like a maniac mister! But I'm not riding with ya!
September 9, 2004. Registration tickets
I just wanted to warn folks who park at any park and rides, that cops do hand out tickets if your registration tags have expired. Even if you're not driving, you'll get fined. So keep those tags up to date.
September 9, 2004. Bad Sacramento driver
Another warning for all fellow commuters from Vallejo, Fairfield, Dixon, Benicia, etc. Please be on the lookout for this driver. He usually picks up on Beale St. between 3:30-4pm for Vallejo. I rode with him a couple of times and at first he seemed normal, said he commuted from Sacramento. On the third ride, though, the smell of marijuana came at me after we took off. All during the commute, he was swerving and slamming on the brakes with his radio FULL blast. Luckily, I and the other passenger made it safely, but I warned other commuters to watch out for him.
I didn't get a chance to get the license plate number, but he's a burly fortiesh Caucasian male w/graying bread and very heavyset. He drives a late model silver Buick. The couple of times I rode with him, he wore tye-dyed shirts.
September 8, 2004. Richmond Parkway line etiquette
It is so frustrating when people who need a ride in the morning get into cars that are in the back of the line. I can understand when people get in cars with people their own race or when a woman driver would be best for a woman rider if that is more comfortable and secure for them. But when everybody does it and ignores the cars in the front of the line, it's disturbing. My husband and I no longer pick up people in the morning.
September 3, 2004. Alameda site problems
(Editor's note: an update from PS on September 28, 2004 indicates that carpoolers continue to meet at the old OX stop -- on Encinal at the northeast corner of Encinal and Park Ave.)
The Alameda location was the site of a bus stop on the AC-Transit OX line to San Francisco. The Alameda site was working because of the dual purpose -- bus stop and casual carpool pick-up -- and there was room for cars to park while waiting for passengers. Effective 8/26 AC transit moved the OX stop to Park Street off Encinal. The new stop is a no-parking area next to a fire station. Also, Park Street is way too busy for a casual carpool pick-up location. Needless to say there has been quite a bit of confusion. I have an inquiry to AC Transit to see why the stop has been moved.
Any suggestions on what can be done to keep this casual carpool pick-up location working?
September 1, 2004. Assault - Richmond Parkway dark blue Toyota pickup
(Editor's note: This is a serious incident - the only one I've heard from 20+ years of casual carpool. Please know that you can always let a man in line go ahead to take a seat in a two-seat vehicle.
The driver grabbed the passenger's hand and kissed it, despite clear statements telling him "no." The driver kept mentioning that he wanted to have sex, and asked the passenger if she ever had sex with a strong Hispanic man. He told her he would take her to Millbrae, but that he would bring her back and drop her off where she needed to go. He passed the Fremont exit, but did drop the passenger off at the edge of 9th street. where she got out of the car and ran.)
I rode with a Hispanic gentleman this morning. He said his name is Jose, and that he is 29. He said that he picks up car poolers every morning at the Richmond Parkway location at 6 am.
This man assaulted me this morning on my way to work.
He drives a dark blue Toyota pick-up, with a prayer card hanging in the front mirror. I did not get his license plate #, but he said that he is there every morning because he has to be at work at 7 am. He does construction work in Millbrae.
I have filed a complaint at the Richmond Police Department. They told me they will have a car patrolling the area in the mornings.
August 31, 2004. Casual car pool Rocks!
I am writing to say that I LOVE casual car pool.
I only started using it a couple of months ago and I can't believe it took me this long to do it. It is easy, convenient, halves my commute time to SF, and halves my commuting expenses.
Every single ride I've taken has had a relaxed, quiet atmosphere. I will certainly recommend casual car pool to all my friends.
August 26, 2004. Orinda BART parking validation
Jim Evans, BART East Bay Parking coordinator, wrote:
BART will begin a parking validation program similar to the ones started at Walnut Creek and Lafayette stations at Orinda station on Monday, September 13th.
The program at Lafayette freed up approximately 200 parking spaces for use by folks who use the BART rail system in both directions rather than carpooling in the morning.
Kevin Hagerty is BART's Parking Manager.
August 19, 2004. Lafayette questions
1. For the first week or so in August I noticed that there were long lines of people at the Lafayette BART Carpool. The cars were few and far between. For this reason I went back to taking BART in the morning. I am hoping this is an August phenomenon and that things will go back to normal after Labor Day (lines of cars). I don't remember this from last summer, though. I get to the Lafayette BART station at about 7:30AM each morning.
Any thoughts from anyone on this?
2. When I was using the Lafayette BART Casual Carpool, I rode my bike to the station and parked in the BART lot. I suspect that this is illegal, but I am not sure. The last time I rode my bike to Lafayette BART, there were two BART workers sitting in their truck by the bike racks. they seemed to be very interested in what I would do when I locked up my bike. Because of I rode BART to Orinda and got off there. I walked to the Orinda Carpool and the line was just as long as it had been at Lafayette so I wound up on BART again.
Does anyone know if it is illegal to park a bike at BART and then ride the Carpool?
August 4, 2004. New rider thanks
JK in Vallejo wrote:
I am a new rider to the carpool system, after getting a new job in the city. I was very hesitant at first about the system because I didn't know if I could trust the driver or other passengers to behave responsibly. But after riding the system for a month now, I have to say that I am now an advocate for such a wonderful system. Everyone that I have met with has been very polite and pleasant to ride with. My very first day I rode with a very nice gentleman who gave me a lift to one block away from my work. I just want to say thank you to everyone who makes this such a wonderful and viable resource to commuters.
August 4, 2004. Try new Pleasant Hill location
Another option for drivers (and riders) is the new Pleasant Hill location on Treat and N. Main. (see www.sfride.com)
Currently the hours of operation are limited through August from 7-8 am. Starting September 1, 2004 hours expand to 6-9 am.
August 3, 2004. Del Norte line courtesy
I have been ride sharing from the Del Norte casual car pool pick-up for about a month now, and I have noticed that in the morning while boarding the first car in line that people walking up from the rear are getting into cars that are in the middle of the line or towards the end instead of walking up to the first car.
This is unfair to the person in the lead car who has been sitting there for who knows how long. I know there are no "casual car pool rules" but there is common courtesy and that's not happening out there.
July 15, 2004. Lafayette options ($)
FYI, you can also pay $4.40 (price to enter and exit Lafayette) to validate your parking.
The agent said there are a few that do it, but she wasn't sure if that was legal or not.
Another person told me that if you want parking before 10am when parking is tight (like Orinda), that you could park in the reserved or midday lots if you go to BART's website and pay $5 per day as if you were parking long term. Then you don't have to validate because you print a permit you put in the window.
July 15, 2004. Respect the line
I didn't get any passengers this morning and finally had to drive solo over the bridge because time ran out. However, by my calculations, I would have gotten out 20 minutes earlier except for one niggly problem: people hopping into 2 seaters behind me. Drivers recruit passengers and passenger seek out 2 seaters because they don't want to wait the extra 2-3 minutes for another passenger to show up. When there's a long line of cars, there always going to be a 2 seater in it somewhere, so the 3 seater people are totally screwed.
Waiting 20 minutes or more hoping that I can save $2 (FastTrak discount) isn't worth it to me. I'm not in this for the money. Respect the line. If you're a driver, wait your turn. If you're a passenger, go to the front of the line.
July 14, 2004. Please, no place saving!
This morning at the Perkins/Grand pickup, I had finally made my way to #2 in line, anticipating a ride with the next car. Just as a car arrived and I made a move to get in, the woman who had been in front of me in line said, "Oh, no, she's getting in." At that moment, a friend she must have been waiting for suddenly appeared and jumped in the car, which took off before I could say anything. If you're using the carpool, please don't let people cut in line! If you are waiting for your companion, and he or she shows up late, I think the gracious thing to do is join them at the back of the line [or perhaps ask others if it's ok for your friend to join you - Ed.]. I love the carpool and think it's a wonderful grassroots phenomenon, but we should all remember that its basis is courtesy.
July 13, 2004. Confirm: avoid this red Escort.
Oh my gosh! I was checking out Emeryville carpool stops since I recently moved, and came across your message board. I saw the one from March of this year re: the heavyset white lady with the red Escort. I'd like to confirm that story. I had the exact same thing happen to me at the Perkins pick-up. I unbuckled my seat belt as we were stopping once we got into SF, and she screamed at me and chastised me about how reckless I was being until I left the car. I was fairly rattled all morning given her tone, words and demeanor - it was very disturbing and I'm concerned about a clearly unstable person being out there on the road and giving others rides. I should be surprised she even gave me a ride given the second story about her, as I am an African American female. Watch out for her!
July 13, 2004. Re: coffee in the 'pool.
Thanks for maintaining the Casual Carpool site--it's been really helpful to me for the last several years. I'd like to toss out my two cents about bringing coffee into carpool vehicles.
Drivers should definitely be allowed to request that passengers drinking coffee wait for the next car; however, I feel that it's really the rider's responsibility to inquire whether it's all right to bring coffee or other potentially-messy substances on board. When I'm drinking coffee on my way in, I generally ask the driver if she minds before I enter her car. I've only been turned down once or twice, and have been welcomed into the next car on those occasions. I appreciate drivers' efforts to keep their vehicles tidy and comfortable for themselves and for their future passengers, and feel that a rare inconvenience to myself is a small price to pay.
June 28, 2004. Please, no coffee!
I would like to ban coffee drinkers from getting into my car when I carpool, but I feel that if I do so I may alienate some people or mark my car as the one driven by "that jerk who doesn't allow riders who drink coffee." I appreciate that folks want their coffee in the morning, but I am not an AC Transit or BART operator and I feel the level of expectation in a private vehicle would be the same as that shown in a stranger's residence. After three separate coffee spills (none of which were communicated to me during the drive), I have decided that I would ask coffee drinkers in line at the curb to take the next car. I know this will offend some folks, but I do not feel I must subject my car to undue damage (especially when it has a light tan interior). While the spills are annoying, what I find more repugnant is the fact that nobody alerted me to them when they occurred. I hope this posting will alert the generally decent and environmentally friendly casual carpool riders that if they get into a stranger's car, it is not always ok with the driver to sip and ride. Thanks.
June 14, 2004. Lafayette parking tickets forgiven?
Re: the new push to end the carpool at Lafayette BART... I am testing the system today to see if I can have a ticket forgiven (I expect to get a ticket today) for riding BART only one way (from SF to Lafayette). I've had a ticket forgiven before for this reason so we'll see if it is OK again.
I've also heard that others have had their tickets forgiven. Does anyone have information on this?
June 3, 2004. Lafayette parking validation starts June 14.
Actually there were flyers put on windshields yesterday (Wednesday June 2) that stated that the validation process will begin on June 14th. Looks like the casual carpool site at the Lafayette BART station will not be so popular. I'll have to beat the bushes to find a parking space somewhere.
May 27, 2004. BART Lafayette parking validation.
I am passing on some info I got today regarding citations in the Lafayette BART parking lot.
When I left the Lafayette station today on my ride home, I saw new validation machines and asked the station agent about them. She told me that because of the "problem" of people parking in the lot and not taking BART into the city (I didn't tell her I was one of those 'problem' commuters), the station is requiring validation. Beginning Tuesday 6/1, you will have to put your BART ticket in the validation machine in the toll area and type in your space number. Cars in unvalidated spaces will be ticketed every day.
May 20, 2004. BART Lafayette parking crackdown.
BP wrote (and also see March 28, 2004 - ed.):
Warning. I use the carpool at Lafayette BART. Last week I got a $25 ticket which referred to parking then walking to the carpool pickup. That morning I saw someone with a clip-board standing in the parking lot.
April 22, 2004. Start spot at Antioch park and ride?
Do you know if anyone is interested in picking up riders at the Hillcrest Park and Ride lot in Antioch?
There's a carpool lane that runs along Hwy 4 from Pittsburg to Concord. Another carpool lane opens up on Hwy 80 off of Hwy 4. I'm surprised that a casual carpool location hasn't been created yet in Antioch. The traffic is horrible!
April 2, 2004. First-timer "pleasantly surprised."
(Editor's note: This makes for a nice response to my March 26, 2004 complaint, below. I think the regulars know this is the rule rather than the exception!)
Subject: Lakeshore First-timer.
I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of operation and the friendliness of the people I met this morning. A young lady driving a small red foreign car greeted me and another man with a cheerful "Good morning," as we climbed into her car. She was a mellow, cautious, yet efficient driver, and she bid us "have a good day gentlemen," as we exited. It was a nice whiff of civility before starting the rat race.
March 28, 2004. BART Lafayette parking crackdown.
I have been parking my car and catching a ride at the casual carpool site at Lafayette Bart station and used BART back home. Last Friday (3/26/04), BART issued parking violation tickets to all carpoolers who parked their cars at Lafayette parking lots.
March 26, 2004. Scary Fruitvale driver.
(Editor's note: Folks, I know you want to help/warn others, but if this is all we hear about, aren't potential new carpoolers going to get a bad impression? Please feel free to send me nice stories, too!)
#1 - Thank you for setting up and running this board.
#2 - Just emerged from a really scary carpool ride this morning from my usual boarding point at Fruitvale Ave. in Oakland to downtown SF. This Asian male driving an older burgandy Mazda SUV-type vehicle, CA license no. 2WTT741, was the scariest, MOST RECKLESS ride I've experienced.
He was FOREVER weaving in and out of lanes on 580 - NOT always using his signal blinker!! Traffic was just medium light and there was NO NEED to. If you read this, make it a point to AVOID this vehicle!! I am using this to give to the CHP to report him.
March 15, 2004. Obnoxious Perkins/Grand driver.
There is a heavyset caucasian woman in a two door red Ford Escort ZX2 who is very rude and nasty. She picks up at the Perkins/Grand casual car pool stop on a regular basis, usually around 8:00 am.
Last Thursday (3/11/04) I sat in the front seat of her car while another man sat in the back on the way into San Francisco. Just before her car came to a stop at the Fremont dropoff, the man sitting in the back removed his seat belt. The heavyset woman began shouting at him and wouldn't stop until he got out of the car. I guess she was mad because he didn't wait until she told him to take off his seat belt. She was screaming "What you did is very dangerous!" over and over. I was worried that she would lose control of herself so I hurried and got out and let the man out of the back seat as quickly as possible. Bad way to start a morning!
This Monday morning (3/15/04) I saw her again at the Perkins/Grand pickup point and this time she refused to take a black woman in the car with her. The woman had already taken the back seat and buckled herself in and then the heavyset woman made her get out. I do not know the reason for her refusal but it was very strange that she let the woman settle in the back seat before she made her exit the car.
I will not ride with this woman again and I advise others to avoid her as well.
March 2, 2004. Hercules changes - input wanted.
The Hercules Police Department is planning some changes at the Hercules Transit Center Park and Ride lot. They hope to "help with the morning stack up to pick up riders." They welcome input from casual carpoolers. Please contact Tom Muehleisen, Hercules Police Department, Commander. 510 799 8280.
December 21, 2003. Hercules Transit Lot citations.
The Hercules Police Department wrote:
There has been a casual carpool at the Hercules Transit lot for some time. Westcat has graciously not asked us to enforce one of their bus zones. They have allowed this bus zone to be used for the casual carpool.
A problem now exists due to the casual carpoolers filling this bus zone. Once the bus zone is filled the cars then stop in the entrance and over the sidewalk, blocking the entrance and the right lane of Sycamore Ave., while waiting in line for the casual carpool.
Once the pick-up zone is full, we want the carpoolers to line up next to the curb inside the transit lot adjacent to Sycamore Ave. There is a no stopping sign just inside the entrance to the lot on the Sycamore side and signs on Sycamore at the lot forbidding blocking the right lane of Sycamore.
Our next option is issuing citations. That option is going to be used very soon, no later than the beginning of the New Year.
You can download this flyer to distribute to carpool drivers and riders.
December 15, 2003. Mugging near Perkins/Grand.
I just wanted to warn people walking to carpool in the Perkins/Grand Lake area that I was mugged in the morning on my way to carpool on Perkins on November 17th. I was approached by a man and he distracted me long enough so that his accomplice was able to run behind me and knock me to the ground. They assaulted me and took my purse and ran into an awaiting car. The muggers had obviously been watching the area for a while and were very aware that people walked down Perkins to the carpool and bus lines in the mornings and evenings. Since then, they have been caught, but there have been other violent crimes in the area. Please be aware of your surroundings (yes, even in the mornings) and please be careful about who approaches you. Thanks
December 9, 2003. Erratic driver.
I am a daily carpooler and would like to report a scary incident with a woman who picked me and another woman up this morning at the Claremont Safeway pickup in Oakland.
The woman in her 50s drove a 2 door older green BMW with green leather interior with a license plate # 1BXD255. She had short blonde hair and blue eyes. As we entered her car, she made us sit in the back seats (to leave the passenger seat open), quickly locked the doors, and drove very fast and erratically to the 24 onramp. She got on the freeway and then took a exit off to detour through Oakland for a good while "looking for the freeway entrance". She finally found the onramp back onto 80 and drove very fast across the bridge.
She flew past the Fremont exit and despite our protests, proceeded to drop us off at around 5th and Harrison. In response to us telling her that the default drop off is Fremont and Howard, she said, "you got a free ride, cunts".
This was very upsetting and I would like to somehow make sure that she does not give others rides- it is unfair for one person to undermine such a positive and effective system.
November 10, 2003. Marin County casual carpools.
There is an effort to get casual carpooling going in Marin County. There is a yahoo group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/casualcarpool_NB