Just three days ago I was visiting my family in Southern California, and most of the time I ride the commuter Metro-Link train from Rancho Cucamonga to Union Station in Los Angeles to visit my longterm friend. It’s about one hour and 15 minutes ride ( 1 hr 15 min.). To my surprise things have changed in the parking situation at the Rancho Cucamonga train station. Last time I parked at the station was in June, just about 3 months ago, it was free, and free all the time. But now the city started charging fee of $4.50 per day, due to cutbacks in funding for the city’s parking maintenance. My train was scheduled to depart at 10:10am to Los Angeles, and I was in the parking lot by 9:30am.
To my surprise, there were posters “Permit Parking Zone” in the whole parking lot, where, hundreds of commuters have parked their cars with ID’s numbers passes of their license plates on their dash boards. I was starting getting “restless” and “unease”, not knowing a sudden change in rules of parking. So, I started looking for somebody, anybody to ask about what’s going on and how I can park for a full day. I located a security guard at the station, and he told me they changed the parking requirements and is not free anymore. He told me the cost of parking for the day and said the city started charging since July, just two months ago.
The security guard also told me I had about 15 minutes to get the parking permit from the machine and place it on my dashboard, before the train arrives to pick up passengers heading to Los Angeles. He also advised me to look carefully at the machine’s screen because it was facing the sun (East), during the morning hours. Yes, it was difficult to see the instructions on the screen due to sun glaring on the glass, but I managed to buy the parking permit with the debit card. The machine only accepts credit or debit cards and does not accept cash. All along this time, I was saying to myself “I am peaceful”, “I am harmonious”.
To make matters more inconvenient, the train ticket machine (vending machine) was not working and will not take money or take the debit card or give any ticket. The train was about less than 10 minutes for arrival. I was repeating to myself “I am peaceful”, I am harmonious”. Luckily the same security guard was standing at the station and I told him the problem with the ticket machine. He told me get the ticket on the train and tell the conductor the ticket machine was not working and pay the conductor. Ofcourse, this commuter train was less than 25% of the full capacity, because it was not the rush hour. I did relax on the train after all the “hustle bustle” with the parking permit and train ticket vending machine fiasco. What a sense of relief after getting on the train and enjoy the ride! “I am peaceful”, I am harmonious”.
Rev. Ernie Martin, The Reverend of Love, Las Vegas