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Friday, June 6, 2008

Guest Blogger #1- Brian Z

First off, I just want to thank Evan for bestowing upon me the honor of “guest blogger” on his critically-acclaimed blog. This is a moment for me.

Keeping with the most common theme of Evan Almighty (commuting headaches) I thought it would be fitting for a Manhattan commuter like myself to enlighten our buddy Evan to the fact that the grass is not always greener on the other side of NYC commuting (maybe he’ll even give NJ Transit a break as a result).

My morning misery starts with the very first intersection I reach at 60th and 2nd outside my apartment. With 3 bus stops, the 59th Street Bridge, 6 different subway stops and that decrepit tram dangling precariously above, the area is the epicenter of the Upper East Side commuting world. To make things worse, there is invariably some brain-dead tourist standing in front of Serendipity, Dylan’s Candy or Bloomingdales (seriously, if you come into the city only to shop at a department store and eat overpriced crap in a cramped diner surrounded by gaudy tchotke, then you deserve to be shot . . . or at least exiled from the island.)

To make matters worse, I have to duck and weave through the collection of people standing on the corner once they cross the street. I swear, it’s like kicking your day off by navigating your way through the Double Dare obstacle course.

Quick side note to all the “standers” on NYC corners – MOVE!! Seriously, people need to get out of the street. The cornerstone of my 2009 NYC Mayoral campaign is going to be the introduction of a law that punishes corner standing with the same firing squad for the tourists outside of Bloomingdales. Or at least arrest and fine them like this guy.

Once that mini-nightmare is over, I get to deal with the subway with such annoyances like the people who rummage for their metrocard while blocking the turnstile (firing squad); the people who stand and block the left side of the escalator (firing squad); and the people that don’t stand to the side to let the people off the subway (bamboo shoots under the fingers nails . . . followed by the firing squad).

This is pretty good visual evidence of the scene I’m talking about:

Thankfully, once on the train I can tune out with my iPod and book and try to completely ignore every other human around me (if anyone cares, Nina Simone and “How to Think Ahead in Chess” are my current musical and reading distractions. I can recommend both). But tuning out is sometimes hard when someone is screaming in the subway car for a hand out, a fight breaks out because someone stepped on someone else’s foot, or a tourist is hanging over the seats staring at the map to see where they should get off (can you tell I don’t like NYC tourists? If that makes me some kind of mean-spirited jerk, so be it. I can’t stand them!).

Things finally brighten up when I reach 8th street as I emerge in the bustling Village neighborhood that houses NYU. That’s the peaceful end to my commute - except when the students are here and clogging the streets . . . boy I could go on a rant about them!

See Evan, NJ Transit isn’t so bad when you look at it in perspective.

Thanks for popping my blogging cherry!


*** I can't tell you how thrilled I am with our first guest blogger...way to go Brian!! I just want to let you know that despite your commuting issues, I will not give NJ Transit a break and I feel this is an appropriate moment to share with you the response they sent to my email complaining about their trains and their making people stand including the elderly and the pregnant. Have a wonderful weekend.

Dear Mr. Nisenson,

We are replying to your feedback of 5/16/2008 regarding subject: Not Enough Cars Once Again.

We are truly sorry that your commute has not been going as smoothly as you and NJ TRANSIT would like. We have shared your frustrations with the appropriate rail supervisory personnel for review and consideration.

During peak commuting periods, the majority of our equipment and crews must be engaged elsewhere. Relief is on the way, as NJ TRANSIT is in the midst of implementing major improvements to our rail service. A total of 279 new rail cars have been ordered to provide customers with added seating and comfort. The manufacturer is expected to deliver all 279 cars by the end of 2008 or early 2009.

As the new cars are delivered and tested, the multilevel fleet will be used for additional service and to replace some single-level cars on the Morris & Essex and Montclair-Boonton lines. Additionally, as the multilevel fleet enters revenue service, NJ TRANSIT will reassign modern Comet IV and V equipment to replace many 34-year-old Comet I-series cars, the oldest in the fleet. Currently, Comet I cars are used on the Main, Bergen County, Pascack Valley, Montclair-Boonton and Morristown lines.

Please keep in mind that rail cars are not only shared between trains, but when you observe an extra car "missing," please be assured that this is due to scheduled maintenance that must be performed to assure safety throughout our rail system.

The decisions made regarding the number of cars needed on certain rail lines, during specific times of the day, are based on extensive investigations made by our Rail Planning Department. When a pattern of overcrowding is observed on a particular train, every effort is made to relieve the problem. However, we cannot guarantee a certain number of cars on any train. We ask for your continued patience and understanding.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to explain some of the challenges we face in operating our service. Rest assured that your concerns are ours as well.


Jamika Berryman
NJ TRANSIT Customer Service Team

1 comment:

Liz said...

BZ, I feel your pain. Just watching that video of people on the subway made me crazy. I, too, think that NYC tourists should face a firing squad, as should people who stand on the corner. FREAKING MOVE! Do you not see the 40 people crossing the street!? Phew. Ok, I'm calm now. Another commuting problem I have, though, is not with people blocking the escalators, but people stopping at the top so there's nowhere to go. I'm glad to see someone else understands my struggles. Great guest blog!