Commuting’s answer to water boarding

IMG_0401New Jersey Transit (@NJTransit) is my commute of choice. That’s because I have no other choice.

As I pen this morning’s blog, we are one-week away from a massive NJT strike that will shut down all service system wide. The reason: union workers want more dough. Note: NJT also recently raised commuter rail fares by a hefty amount.

I’d be more sympathetic towards the rate hikes and the workforce raises if NJT didn’t provide the worst customer service since the crew of the RMS Titanic some 20 minutes before disappearing beneath the waves “Out of my way, luv! It’s every man for himself!”

To illustrate just a few of NJT’s many sordid, day-in, day-out experiences, consider the following:

– 90 percent of their trains are delayed
– Conductors consistently adopt a hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil attitude whenever there are delays (“Beats me why we’re stopped. Listen for announcements.”). Helpful, no? As a result, passengers are left guessing why we’ve stopped dead in our tracks, what’s caused the delay and when we might be moving again
– 90 percent of their rest room facilities are so foul that they’d be shunned by Al Qaeda fighters in the remote mountains of Afghanistan
– With a few, rare exceptions, the conductors are rude, surly and impatient (especially when asked if they’ve heard of any updates on the proposed strike). “What do I look like? A friggin’ reporter? Watch the news!” You have a great day as well, Mr. Conductor.

And, yet, these buffoons have the gall to ask for money. That’s akin to:

– Congress demanding salary increases based upon their stellar, eight-year track record.
– Mayor DeBlasio requesting a pay raise after returning New York City to its late 1970s Abe Beame-like mean streets look and feel.
– The Department of Transportation justifying a funding increase based upon building one of the world’s great infrastructures.

Bad people don’t deserve good raises.

But, when those bad people hold all the cards a la NJT, what recourse does the average rider have? Stage a reverse strike and refuse to ride on any NJT bus or train? Not bloody likely. Drive to, and from, Manhattan? Even less bloody likely.

And, so we’re left sitting in our cells on death row awaiting the executioner’s decision (and/or a call from Governor Chris Christie issuing a stay of execution. But, Big Boy, as W. used to refer to him, is still trying to convince people he wasn’t being held hostage by Donald Trump during that embarrassment of an endorsement).

All of which leads me to suggest yet another update on NJT’s tagline. As you may recall, I originally added the word “eventually” to the current motto of “Getting you there.” I felt it better managed rider expectations.

But, that no longer accurately describes the truly horrific life of the NJT commuter. I’m lobbying for a new, more authentic and fully transparent motto:

“Commuting’s answer to water boarding”

As O. J. Simpson might say, “It fits like a glove.”

4 thoughts on “Commuting’s answer to water boarding

  1. One of the chief reasons I moved from the NYC area to San Diego was a change of commute.
    After spending 1/2 my career on the PATH, various busses, subways or LIRR, I’ll take the comfort of my car over those options 95 percent of the time.

    • Yesterday in church I was reading to kids about the hardships that 1860s preachers had to go through via horse and wagon. Now I envision NJ Transit…

  2. Geez, what a mess! I am listening to WNYC’s Brian Lehrer talk about this very subject:

    When I grew up, my old man cursed the Long Island Rail Road every day he was forced to take it. So did everyone else.

    Today I take NJ Transit occasionally to the airport or a client. That is just enough to make me think the LIRR is a paragon of on-time trains and caring, involved customer service.