The cloudy morning today proved too chilly for Anthony Edwards, who is visiting San Diego from Atlanta. He’s here for a conference at the Doubletree Hotel.

I ran into Edwards at the 70th Street Trolley Station a little after 9 a.m. this morning. He was wearing a T-shirt — and freezing, he told me. He asked if I knew what bus to take to get to the Burlington Coat Factory.

“It was 91 degrees in Atlanta yesterday,” he said. “I thought, ‘San Diego in March — short sleeves.’”

But now, Edwards was trying to find a coat. “I got 15 million coats at home — now I just need one,” he said.

Edwards said he works for MARTA — the rapid transit authority in Atlanta. Once a train driver, Edwards has recently started working as a planner for the system — the subject of the conference here today.

Except for his personal frustration as he sought warm clothes, Edwards said he’s impressed so far with San Diego’s system. Compared to Atlanta’s trains, where each rider has to swipe a fare card before getting on the train, Edwards thought San Diego’s trolleys make passenger boarding more efficient.

But Edwards doesn’t trust the honor system, he said. When passengers board the trolley, they can be asked by a code compliance officer to show proof they’ve paid the correct fare, and can be fined if they haven’t. But not every train carries a code compliance officer, and Edwards thinks too many people likely get away with not paying.

“I don’t think the honor system works,” he yelled across the tracks before he got on the trolley he hoped would take him to find a winter coat. “People just generally aren’t honest.”


Monday, March 26 — 12:13 p.m.

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