Tuesday, March 31, 2009

NJ Transit can just go... (Expletive Remarks)

My cynical moment of the month has arrived.

I'm not prone to use swear words. I'm also not prone to throwing eggs at anyone. NJ Transit is a hair away from eliciting both from me, if not something far more dramatic. For now it will be a very un-dramatic blog post.

I should really expand the hatred toward all forms of New Jersey Transportation. I don't know anything about boating around here so I guess I'll put water travel aside. Travel by air is annoying - Newark Airport flights have been delayed at least 80% of the time I've been flying in or out of the city. Travel by ground is simply horrendous. The trains to get to the airport are often late, not by much but it was definitely noticable when the weather was colder. If you miss your connection from Newark Penn Station to the Airtrain Rail Link Station, you pretty much have another half-hour to kill. If you had missed it in Westfield, well, you better have an hour's worth of shopping to do.

Tonight's complaint, along with just about every other night I take the 7:45 bus home to Cranford, was an unexplainable 35 minute delay despite a steady flow of cars and not a drop of precipitation anywhere. Since this particular bus is so very often late, I had a feeling I knew who was driving. As I stood in the chilly wind (avoiding the smoker who so politely stood smoking inside the glass shelter), I was contemplating making a bet with the other folks waiting at my stop, that the late bus would be driven by a black woman who is either on the phone or just being completely lazy. You see, I've been here before, so it's a bet I knew I'd win. After half an hour though, all the other folks at the bus stop had given up and left. When the 113 bus finally did arrive at 35 minutes late, it was her, sure enough, and as I took my seat, I couldn't help but notice that the bus was completely empty, suggesting all her other stops had given up on her too. I had to ask her a few times (since she ignored me at first) what the hold up was. With a single, slothful word, she blamed, "traffic." Clearly though, the traffic was not the problem. I asked her if she always had this shift, and apathetically she said she did, every day but Monday. So note to self, catch the 6:50 or don't bother trying to leave work until the 8:50 rolls around.

$65 a month for a two-zone bus pass seemed fitting for the coldest months, January, February, and March, but it's debatable whether it would be worth an April purchase. I'd really like to get a bike to help cut down the otherwise 45-minute walking commute each way - not to mention, the sidewalks are so uneven around here that one square of cement will be 2-3 inches higher than the last (which is why I still have a black and blue toe from a violent stub I procured while running last fall). And, finally, the roads themselves are a complete hassle if you don't know them, and traffic is horrible in certain areas (especially route 22, which is somewhere you drive if you have a deathwish). This area of New Jersey is so old, it's debatable whether city planners even existed (above a mole's intelligence, blind and willing to run into whatever existing tunnels may have already been laid out).

Perhaps I'm just a suburban, midwestern chick, but on the other hand, let me tell you from experience, I'd sooner navigate through Chicago than deal with any form of New Jersey transit. And now, venting time is over. Hopefully this has been a joy to read, for my more sarcastic family and friends. Good night!


bridesmom08 said...

I was just thinking how it might be good that you are west of Elizabeth, NJ, in the opposite direction of westerly winds. There was just a TV report about monitoring the air at schools in Elizabeth since it's in close approximaty to one chemical plant and two power plants. Still, not knowing exactly where these industries are located, I'm not celebrating yet. For decades, New Jersey has been the armpit of the nation. Smokestacks, dumps etc. So I guess I'm not surprised that anything run by local government works poorly. Bus service included. I would hate for you to ride a bike there with the uneven walkways and roads, not to mention crazy drivers you'd be exposed to. Maybe a motorized sidewalk scooter. And a helmut! Love, momma

Laura "Sko" said...

Yeah, about once a month (ish) there's this garbagy smoke that fills the air at night, barely visible, but it's just gross and I have no idea where it's coming from. Disgusting.

Laura "Sko" said...

So.. yeah. F*** NJ Transit for once again being 5+ minutes early on a rainy day when my alternate option was to walk home for about a mile with 40-50 pounds of groceries. Yeah. That was fun. :-)