Thursday, June 12, 2008

Riding the ACE Train !

Taking the Altamont Commuter Express Train to work,
(As opposed to driving

Last month I finally and officially freaked out at the gas pump.

I've never paid much attention to the daily price I paid, instead I was content with filling my tank everyday with 4 gallons of fuel. (That got me from Tracy to Sunnyvale and back -105 miles)

Well that ungrateful morning, I looked at the price for 4 gallons of regular and realized that I was paying nearly $20 a day just to go to work. Totally unacceptable !!
I parked my car at the Santa Clara Station that evening and took the ACE train home. Now I have ridden the ACE before, once in a while, but preferred driving as it allowed me more control over my work timings, but I've got to admit that enough is enough and paying, nay, WASTING $600 a month on just gas was not going to swing it anymore....

(Click the images to enlarge)

So I bought myself a Monthly Pass ($225.75) and I now cycle to the station every morning from home, and back home from the station every evening. I currently park my car at the Great America station in Santa Clara to board the train, but I can't keep it there over the weekends as vandalism has sometimes been known to occur.
I need to buy myself a cheap ass $1000 car to park there...

(Click the images to enlarge)

The Ace train is really good, on time and cost effective. The train is kept clean, the conductors and operators are very courteous and it has tables to put your laptop on and work, and the plugs to plug them in. It also has wi-fi, but it is sometimes hard to get a strong connection.
I now save $400 a month on my fuel bill.. I reach work at 8:30am (As opposed to 10am when driving) and I leave at 5:30pm to catch the last 5:45 train back to Tracy...

No stress of driving, (Or having to deal with the Asshats on the highway) saving on fuel and peace of mind..

I can live with that.

Here are a few more pictures I took.

The Great America Station Parking Lot
(Click the images to enlarge)

The TRACY Station
(Click the images to enlarge)

Pictures of the Altamont Expressway, from the Train
I used to be one of those drivers (lol)
(Click the images to enlarge)

Check the ACE train Schedule and maps and stuff on their website.

Courtesy ACErail website


  1. I ride the ACE train daily to Fremont... Its really good. I've also been reading your blog on and off. Nice work. Lots of pictures

  2. I do the daily San Jose to Stockton run. Saves me atleast a gazillion bucks on gas!

    I also used to drive till about december last year.

  3. Car should not be an issue, check out mine:

  4. Man, that was fast.
    I am now the proud owner of Pete's (Tracy Today) little '97 Plymouth Neon.

    Thank you Pete :-)

  5. I think I was evasive when pressed for an assessement of the car, but honestly I think it should serve for years yet. By the way, you can join BANEON in my stead :-) I understand that for an enthusiast of a real performance car this may be rather laughable, but still.

  6. None the less Peter, I thank you.. It is a wonderful little car and I drive it to the office everyday from the santa clara rail station where it is parked.

    Drove it from tracy to sunnyvale 2 weeks ago, it handles beautifully on the highway... I was nervous about it, but not anymore.. :-)

  7. See if you can identify your car in this picture of BANEON club on a summer trip:
    It is possible, I assure you.

  8. That's easy, It's the middle one.
    It has a license plate holder and is a 2 door. :-)

    1. Hi,
      i would like to use ACE train from Tracy to pleasonton but my problem to go to ACE station it's 4 miles from my house .we have only 2 cars and we just moved to Tracy i dont know what to do:(

  9. I just wonder why do you have to park your car at Great America station in order to use ACE ? Is ACE on time ? After all, is it really worth to spend almost 3 hours daily to commute to work ?

    Also, the weather is much hotter and very windy in Tracy & Mountain House than in Bay Area. Is this true ?

    I am just start thinking about moving to Tracy or Moutain House after reading your blog.


  10. Some people like to keep a second car at the Great America Station in Santa Clara, CA.

    However, there are shuttles at the Great America Station. The shuttles are free. Additionally there is Light Rail (VTA) and some companies offer free shuttle service. Example: Apple, National Semiconductor, Microsoft-WebTV, Cisco, or a few others. Hewlett-Packard-Agilent-Compaq.

    There are also bike paths from Great America. The bike path is called the Layfayette Bike Trail and the BayTrail which goes to Sunnyvale and up to San Francisco eventually. And down to San Jose.

  11. Bao,

    The weather is a little hotter in Tracy, but we have air conditioners. Mountain House is ok, but there is are three high schools and plenty of shopping in Tracy where I live. I parked a car at Great America until I started riding my bicycle. The ACE Train also operates several shuttles out of the Great America station. If you buy a home in Tracy and commute to Pleasanton they also have shuttles. Even Vasco to the Lab and many of the other ACE stations.

    However, one thing you misunderstood about ACE is that it doesn't take three hours to get to work on the ACE Train. If I leave the same time as the train (driving) it takes me about the same time to get to work on the ACE Train. The difference is that on the ACE Train I can sleep, work, talk to friends, or just watch the cars we pass on the freeways. It's always a more efficient and relaxing way to commute. And I can own more than one homes by living in Tracy, CA. I couldn't even afford one home in the Bay Area.

    Either place to live is equally as nice you have to figure out if you want to get stuck in Fremont or 101 traffic or just sit on the train and let someone else drive. You will also get square footage, bedrooms, bath, yard size, garage, single family, instead of a condo, etc for your family to enjoy. Personally we can now afford to own a few homes in Tracy, CA.

    And commuting has never been more efficient, productive, relaxing, and enjoyable. It even offers me a healthy option now that I take my bicycle instead of a shuttle. It also makes sense because I live near the ACE Train Station in Tracy, CA. I can actually walk around the corner to the station or ride my bicycle. Great excercise and they even have bicycle lockers at the Tracy ACE Train station.

    Tracy, CA also has a downtown Transit Station and they are talking about putting High Speed Rail through Tracy, CA. If that happens your commute will be twice as fast. You won't be able to get to work faster without getting a speeding ticket.

    Good luck and happy commuting!

  12. I was just wondering if you had any details about the wifi on the train, is it free etc. I searched their website and all it said was coming soon....And great post, I'll be moving to Tracy this summer and commuting to Pleasanton so i may be reading more of your blog.

  13. I have used the ACE train in Tracy, CA and rode my bicycle. There is no wifi on the bicycle cars so I just bring my iPhone and my Sprint card if I want to use my laptop.

    By the way I have an unlocked iPhone that takes a T-Mobile SIM card which costs me half as much as what AT&T charges.

    It works most of the way. There are some dropp spots in the Altimont and the Niles Canyon where the tunnels are.

    I get to check my yahoo emails and check my facebook.

    Then check my work email from the ACE Train before arriving to work without the stress of driving on the freeway.

    "Get your fixies running."

    See ya on the train.

    BTW. Great website!


  14. A "fixie" is a bicycle with one gear. The pedals turn when the rear tire moves. But it's the only kind of bike the purists will ride. This train is so much fun and always smile when I pass the gas pumps on a bicycle. My tank (water bottle) is full. Not gallons. Only one pint.


  15. How is parking at the Tracy station? I am considering a move there and would be taking the last AM train.

  16. Natasha, Privet !

    Parking at the tracy station is great.. There is a security patrol that comes every now and then during the daytime.. Also they have cameras and lock boxes...

    Plus, IS FREE Parking for the ACE train commuters.

    I have on many occasions parked my Corvettes in the parking lot and arrived back in the evening to find it still safe and spotless..

    1. Not anymore! Lots of recent break ins including my jeep. A truck was stolen two spots down from my vehicle on friday.

  17. Hi, I'm moving to Tracy soon, not far from the ACE station, commute to Fremont by riding my bike to the station and taking my bike into the train. Any advice ? Does the train has enough bike rack ?

  18. The last train from Tracy is at 7:11am. Does anyone know if there's any plan to have another train around 8am??

  19. Just wondering, since the last discussion on parking at the Tracy station, is there still ample parking or has ACE become so popular that it's success is causing any problem with parking. Same with space on the trains. I will be moving to Tracy within the next 12 months and want to have a good idea on commuting options. Thanks, and Great Blog !!

  20. I am sure it still has ample parking. Enjoy!

  21. Does anybody know the Travel Time from Tracy to Pleasanton taking ACE?

    Trying to figure out getting to work taking ACE and BART by 7am in Emeryville. My work is close to Ashby Station so just trying to get the route down

    any help is appreciated!


  22. What's going on with all the car break ins and car theifts at the Tracy train station?

  23. we are planning to buy our home in Tracy. My husband works in San Mateo. He can commute Tracy to Fremont thru ACE. Can some one suggest commute from Fremont to San Mateo ?

    1. I would park a car there and drive across the bridge.

  24. HI , we are considering buying a home near mountain house or tracy. can you suggest if there is a any train route to SFO ? can we take ACE and then bart from Pleasanton ? are the stations same for bart and ACE ? Also what are the good elementary schools near these areas and Middle and high school ? Please suggest.

  25. Hello Dick,

    Very nice blog. I am also planning to move to Tracy. I work at Santa Clara. Can you please advise what would the travel time if I drive. Also what is the travel time if I take the ACE train.
    How are the schools their ? Shopping options ? Crime Rate in Tracy.. I am trying gain information about Tracy. Any information about the same will be a great help..

  26. Hi there, I just moved to Livermore and there is no problem parking at Livermore Mapple St downtown parking building structure.

    What I'm planning is to drop 1 car at Great America ACE Train station, is there any free parking, for overnight or over the weekend?

    Please share your thoughts and links if there have been discussions about it.