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Getting Around Caltrain ProblemsIf you take Caltrain on a regular basis, it is inevitable that you will encounter a transit delay. The delay will either be via a pedestrian death/suicide on the train tracks or an equipment failure preventing the trains from moving forward. (Did you know that one person’s suicide during rush hour can impact the workday to such an extent that it can cause up to 6,000 hours of lost work productivity time in the morning?)

Though any delay seems insurmountable to the person or persons stuck in the train when it stops, there are a few options for the folks waiting at the platforms that are not stuck in one of the lumbering beasts of transit. If you’re quick on your feet and don’t wait around to see what happens to you.

Twitter, CaltrainDroid & VTA

For me, I have two invaluable tools that help with almost any situation I am in when it comes to using Caltrain. One is Twitter and the other is a phone app called CaltrainDroid (Or its equivalent for iPhones) by Valencia Labs.

Twitter

I know… you have absolutely no use for Twitter. I get that. Don’t worry, most don’t. But if you do sign up for Twitter, it can be useful if you follow a few local news feeds, if nothing else.  And Caltrain has a few Twitter accounts that they attempt to update with information when “events” take place.

But I’m not saying to follow Caltrain’s Twitter feeds.

But what I am saying is that if you have a Twitter app on your phone with an account, you can pull up Twitter and do a search just for “caltrain,” and suddenly you have a world of information at your fingertips. Where Caltrain needs to be accurate in their information tweets, riders do not. They can vent or inform the Twitter-sphere on the fly.

I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve been able to see a Caltrain delay and long before any official word is put out, Twitter users have informed me of what is going on. That’s because usually there’s at least one or two great Twitter users on each train that will say just what the conductor has told them, and they in turn, tell you.

The other day before getting out of my car at the Morgan Hill station I saw on Twitter that there was a delay, and that helped me and a few fellow passengers act accordingly and hop on a bus to San Jose!

That act alone saved some riders an additional 60 minutes of wait time on top of the rest of the delay that came about due to the rumored equipment vandalization. Ah… Now do I have your attention?

But taking the bus is one part of the equation. And Twitter can be funny or sad as you read the irrational tweets about Caltrain. It depends what you encounter in your searches.

CaltrainDroid by Valencia Labs

One of the best and simplest apps in the world for smart phones, is CaltrainDroid (or what ever its iPhone version name is). It is a life saver on so many fronts it is stupid fun, easy and informative. And not to mention, it needs very few permissions like some of those other apps that need to read your text messages, for what ever intrusive reason.

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