Sunday, March 16, 2014

BUS STORY # 384 (San Diego, Part Three: Tap & Ride)

Compass Card Tap & Ride (Downloaded from Shimona Carvalho’s “Tap to Play with NFC.”) by busboy4
Compass Card Tap & Ride (Downloaded from Shimona Carvalho’s “Tap to Play with NFC.”).

You can read Parts One and Two here and here.

Day One.

We headed for our bus stop with our new Compass Cards. Our destination was the San Diego Duck Tour -- or, rather, Seal Tour, as it is called here.

Our bus arrived right on the minute. I boarded first, holding my card out, not sure what to do with it.

“Tap it here,” said the driver, pointing to the area just below the fare box (as illustrated in the photo above). Yeah, I know. It’s pretty obvious once someone shows you.

We took the 8 to the end of the line, where we caught the Green Line trolley (also dead on time) to Seaport Center, where the seal tour began. Like the Dallas light rail, the San Diego light rail is saweet. And utilized.

We were puzzled no one had asked for our card on that first ride. Later, heading back from the duck tour, we realized we were supposed to have tapped our cards on the “tap and ride” stands near the ticket vending machines. Oops.

SDMTS Tap & Ride for the Trolley (Downloaded from the SDMTS via the blog Travel 4 the Soul) by busboy4
SDMTS Tap & Ride for the Trolley (Downloaded from the SDMTS via the blog Travel 4 the Soul).

We got off at the Seaport Village Station, then found ourselves unsure where to go next. This is where I learned the importance of taking notes -- in this case, “Head northwest on Martin Luther King Promenade toward Kettner Blvd,” then “Sharp left onto Kettner. Destination will be on the left.”

Unfortunately, we ended up on Harbor Blvd, less than half a block away from Kettner. We saw a visitors service desk and went in to ask directions. And we had an adventure.

There was a very nice young woman behind the desk who quickly got us oriented. While she was pointing us in the right direction, another older woman emerged from somewhere to the right of the desk and took over. She presented herself as a tourist assistant, but we soon realized she was trying to sell us time shares for the Wyndham Vacation Resorts. She was very high pressure, and didn’t want us to leave without signing up for a presentation, promising us all kinds of perks. We told her we needed to be at the tour by ten thirty. She told us “Those tours leave every thirty minutes.” In fact, they did not. We quickly extricated ourselves and headed toward Kettner.

Initially, we were of the opinion that the visitors service desk was not a front for a Wyndham sales trap. But we couldn’t account for the tolerance and passivity of the young woman behind the desk. We thought she might be naive enough to have been persuaded to allow the saleswoman to use her space for her own ends. We also thought she was young enough to possibly have been intimidated into the arrangement. Unless it really is a front and our sweet and naive young woman is really an apprentice...

Mrs. Busboy loved the duck tour. Lots of emphasis on the local presence of the Navy and the sea lions. Afterwards, we took the Green Line to the 10 (This is where the driver saved me from taking the 10 the wrong direction.), and the 10 to lunch at Brooklyn Girl where we both had one of the best meals of the trip.

After lunch, we took the 10 back to Old Town (like our Old Town: the original town) where we spent a couple of hours strolling and shopping and marveling at the masses of bougainvillea before taking the 8 back to our hotel.


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