Mar 17

The Dante’s Inferno of holidays

March 17 I’ve heard New Year’s Eve referred to as ‘amateur hour’ since so many drink so much in so short a period of time. I agree. It’s an ideal night to hunker down and watch what’s left of Dick Clark countdown the final seconds of a dying year. The same can’t be said, though, for St. Patrick’s Day. It goes far beyond mere amateur hour status and deserves a much more exacting moniker. I suggest calling it the Dante’s Inferno of holidays.

What makes St. Patrick’s Day the Dante’s Inferno of holidays are the hooligan high school kids who hop onto various trains heading into the city and literally run amok. Already three sheets to the wind at 7:28am, the high schoolers careen up and down the narrow aisles, spill their bottles of Corona over otherwise placid commuters and engage in shoving and pushing matches that often escalate into replays of Ali-Frazier I.

Further exacerbating the horror show that is St. Patrick’s Day on NJT is the indifferent, standoffish attitudes of the train conductors. Rather than reign in the free-for-all, the conductors act as if it’s just another day. So, those of us who fork over $400 per month-plus for the rare privilege of riding the nation’s worst commuter railroad are like innocent bystanders watching a modern-day version of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

All of which just underscores NJT’s horrific image and reputation. In fact, based upon my recent St. Patrick’s Day experience riding the train from hell, I’d like to suggest yet another update to my tagline for the Garden State’s transit service. Instead of: ‘Expect less,’ I’d like to update it to the more accurate, ‘Expect the worst.’ When it comes to the worst possible customer service experience imaginable, nobody beats NJT. Nobody. Not no how. Not no way.