Thursday, October 9, 2008

Transportation Rant

Dear MTA (Metropolitan Transit "Authority"),

Thank you so much for making it so difficult for "Upstate Manhattan" residents to get anywhere on the weekends and evenings after 11 PM. The catch-all phrase "track work" is a handy one, a useful reason for shutting down the A Train above 168th Street on weekends, from 207th to 168, requiring a bus trip and then transfer to the A at 168th.

Last night, after arriving at the 86th street C train station, carrying three huge bags at 11:00 PM, I had to take the train downtown to 59th, catch the A to 168th, transfer to a local (took 25 minutes to appear) uptown to 207th. A trip that normally takes 40 minutes took 90 minutes. I now realize that after three years of this, "track work" is an ongoing thing and it will NEVER BE FINISHED, so that for every three weeks of full service, we will pay by having four weekends of disruption following.

I could take the express bus BXM1, I suppose, when I have to go to the East Side. In theory I could, but as it rarely arrives on time, and often never does, it's a crapshoot. The city took over this bus line from a private company a few years go, raised the fare, and never looked back. A bus is 20 minutes late, and upon arrival when the driver is questioned about this, shrugs as if this has nothing to do with him. "Take the train", one retorted, when I told him that I was now late for a doctor's appointment because the 1:00 bus never arrived and I was on the 1:37 for a 2:00 appointment. I feel a kinship with riders on the F or G trains in Queens and Brooklyn, who have to put up with horrible service on weekends; there are folks traveling from Howard Beach and places way out in the boroughs who take a bus and two trains to get to work every day, which means two hours of commuting, twice a day...but one knows that if one chooses to live out there and has to travel into Manhattan to work, that one has to put up with that kind of a commute. I'm in Manhattan (barely) yet often feel trapped in my nabe when my choices include a bus that may or may not arrive and a circuitous bus & train combo. I often am carrying a lot of crap of a day, so it's a strain to deal with extra stairs and crowds, so taking the 1 train, a healthy walk down 207 and up a huuuuge flight of stairs, as it's elevated up here, and a local train in every sense, isn't practical.

So MTA, who I know don't care, because your employees are even more miserable than the people you provide service to, you get an F from me for the inconvenience of having to leave an hour earlier than necessary to get anywhere, and I need my sleep. Thanks for making things a little harder around here, and for undoubtedly driving good people out of the city who just can't put up with the trauma of getting to and from work and play. 11:00 in the evening cut-off time? In the City That Never Sleeps? Sheesh.

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