Until the day that BART decides to send out more trains during the peak hours, I will continue to upstream like a small majority of riders on the system. Upstreaming is when you go the reverse route in order for you to get a seat on the train. For me, after my 10,000 steps at work, I just have that need to sit. The way I see it, I paid for the seat, might as well make sure I get to sit on one.
In the past, I’ve done this where I would find a seat near the door. I then surrender my seat to the elderly, someone pregnant, or someone traveling with crutches. Chivalry is not dead! Now, I’ve gotten a little smarter and picked a non-aisle seat in the middle of the train. This is where I plop down, put on my headphones, and close my eyes while I listen to a TED talk. I also try to fall asleep.
Before I discovered upstreaming, I used to bring a tripod chair with me to at least be able to sit for the 30 minutes or so that I was on the train. I never had the guts to assemble a rope chair that hangs from the rails. I saw one listed in MAKE magazine a while back and I never actually saw it in action. I also pondered buying one of those backpack chairs but I could never justify the weight.
As the years progressed and my gout symptoms started for flare up more frequently, I’ve decided to upstream as often as I can.
Here’s what I do…if ever I’m at the Embarcadero, Montgomery, or Powell station, I will look at the time for my next train. If it is at 10 minutes, I know I can easily go 2 stations upstream. Now the catch is if you’re at Civic Center with 10 minutes. Can you actually go to 24th street (one more past 16th street)? I’ve tried and have barely made it. 16th street is always a safe bet in order to get a seat. Have I ever gone past the 24th street station? Not yet. I’m saving that for one of the major BART delays.