Part of the pleasure of a vacation for me is the freedom from having to drive. I love taking public transportation. Not only because I never have to look for a nonexistent parking place, but because it can provide a theatre-like experience sometimes. Characters, stories, situations. An unexpected treat on this trip to San Francisco was learning that BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) has a wonderful “Spare the Air” policy that benefits both public transit riders and the environment. When the air pollution index is expected to rise toward a certain unhealthy level, travelers can ride the BART trains for free in order to encourage everyday motorists to leave their cars at home and take the train. What a great idea. And while I wasn’t too pleased at the air quality news, I loved using public transit for the days I was in the city. To and from the airport and Union Square. Out to Berkeley and back. The city’s MUNI bus system and other regional transit systems participate in the program, too. Terrific.