"Attention New Jersey Transit Rail Passengers: We still, like, totally suck."
You know, these last few weeks I had noticed that the trains were running fairly close to on time, the majority of the time. I almost said something about it, but didn't want to jinx anything. But obviously someone out there did say something, because we're back to square one on the whole NJT performance thing, and I'm as filled with hatred for that miserable transit system as ever.
Last week I arrived to this mess of a scene at Penn Station: that's the entire main concourse completely solid with pissed-off humanity. A brush fire earlier in the day had screwed up rail traffic for hours and trains weren't moving. I know it's a poor quality photo, but give me a break; I took with that with my little phone camera, and my hand was quivering with rage at the time. Still, I think it conveys the gloominess of it all. I got home hours later than I was supposed to.
Now, these kind of colossal failures of the system are to be expected every once in a while. But they seem to happen once a week with these yahoos. Last night, My train was 50 minutes delayed as a "disabled Amtrak train" was blamed. NJT loves to blame Amtrak whenever possible, saying "It's not our fault, Amtrak owns the rails we operate on, and they get preferential treatment, blah fucking blah..." This excuse holds absolutely no water, however since NJT only shares rail with Amtrak on ONE LINE, and from what I hear, NJT's performance on all the other lines (where NJT has full access) is equally abysmal, if not worse.
So, thinking I had my one Colossal Failure of the Week out of the way, I arrived on the platform this morning at 8:09AM for my 8:11 train and was greeted with an announcement that the 8:11 was not stopping at Metropark today, and the next train to stop would be the 8:38 -- which of course showed up at about five minutes to nine this morning.
What's really fun about that is that you get to play russian roulette with the trains that are blowing you off, as the platform fills with people and the trains speed past at 60MPH, horns wailing, inches from your face.
The only way this this morning's commute could have been any more annoying is if today was the day they distributed the NJT propaganda newsletter on the seats, which is usually filled with stories like "NJT boosts on-time performance", and "Rail riders speak out... and NJT was listening".
Well, turns out that today is that day, but it gets better: today's NJT propaganda newsletter featured a story about how they're raising fares almost 10% this June, and the headline read: "Fare Plan Reflects Customer Input". That's funny, my input to them was "fix your goddamned service before you come to me asking for more goddamned money, you assholes", or something like that. I know it was more politely worded; I waited for an on-time day to fill out the survey, I remember this quite clearly.
I figure at some point, that headline will be really amusing to me (as I'm sure it is to you already), but right now I'm just as pissed off as ever at that rotten transit company.
Moments after pulling away from the platform, the conductor entered our car and said "all tickets and passes, please", and everyone in the car went "fuck you!!". Well, that's what I imagined, anyway. As I exited the train at Penn Station, I noticed most of the newsletters were now strewn all over the floor. A bit of a silent protest about the fare hike? Perhaps, but the more logical explanation is that most of the people on the train are littering slobs.
I am weary with rage.