It took the driver 45 minutes to get to me, and as the minutes ticked away while we made our way down to Fremont Chevrolet, I found myself longing for when Central Chevrolet was still open. Central was less than a mile from me, and I could easily have walked there in the time it took the shuttle driver to collect me and bring me to the Fremont Auto Mall.
After paying the $647 it cost to repair my van, I started heading for the Fremont BART station, in the hope that I could catch the last direct train to SF of the night, the 5:49. Alas, it pulled out of the station just as I was buying my ticket, followed by the Richmond train. That meant I had the maximum possible wait time for another train, and would have to transfer at Lake Merritt to boot. However, I figured I could still get to the reading just before it started at 7 PM, or maybe just a few minutes late.
I boarded the next Richmond-bound train. I thought something was strange when it took maybe ten attempts to get the doors to close. We started out of the platform and stopped again. That happens sometimes. What doesn't usually happen is the train moving a couple of car lengths, stopping, then starting again. The driver made apologetic sounds and we at least cleared the station mouth, but we kept stopping and starting. We plodded along in this stop-and-go fashion for a while, with the driver unable to clear the problem. She even tried "rebooting" the train — shutting the train down completely and restarting it from scratch — but that didn't work. Finally, having gone perhaps half a mile in ten minutes, she announced that we would be returning to Fremont station, where we could board the next Richmond-bound train that was waiting on the platform there.
When our train lurched back to the Fremont platform, I bailed out. It was now so late that I would be lucky to make it Montgomery Street by "halftime" of tonight's reading. I told the station agent the situation and he stamped my ticket and let me use the luggage gate so that I wouldn't be charged the "excursion fare" for exiting from the same station from which I'd entered. I hope there's no difficulty using that ticket, as it's what I plan to use on my trip to SFO to catch my flight to Australia on the 30th.