Jump to content
Attention: In order to reply to messages, create topics, have access to other features of the community you must sign up for an account.

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Trainspotter

Train Skip Your Stop? It’s No Mistake, It’s Just the Weekend

Recommended Posts

Train Skip Your Stop? It’s No Mistake, It’s Just the Weekend

By CLYDE HABERMAN

NY TIMES

April 4, 2008

 

Human affliction is a steady travel companion of subway riders.

 

[float=right]04nyc01-190.jpg

Ozier Muhammad/The NY Times

Signs in subway stations advise

passengers of a raft of service

changes.

[/float]To go by many advertisements in the trains, New Yorkers suffer unduly from all sorts of maladies: eczema, psoriasis, frequent urination, cysts, bloating. They have moles and acne scars. Men are impotent; the ads almost sound like lamentations from Nathan Zuckerman, Philip Roth’s literary alter ego. Chronic heel pain has you down? Dial a number and someone will ease your pain.

 

If your marriage is kaput, or immigration agents are onto you, or you are jammed up with the law, there are phone numbers for you as well. A command of English is not essential. A woman named Margarita is waiting to hear from “los Hispanos heridos en accidentes.”

 

But for many New Yorkers, these miseries pale against the ordeal of a weekend subway ride. There is no known cure for it, no sympathetic Margarita, no wondrous phone call to make it O.K.

 

Another weekend is upon us. That means another weekend of the subway’s not behaving as it is supposed to.

 

Trains on 12 of the system’s 24 lines will not make their normal runs. Some will skip stations. Some will call it quits short of their usual terminus. Some will yield to shuttle buses. Two lines, the C and the No. 3, will not operate at all.

 

Changes are posted in subway stations in a welter of notices. At times, a dozen or more advisories are lined up in eye-glazing formation. Some can feel like part of the SAT:

 

“To reach the West Side of Manhattan from Brooklyn, take the 2 to Franklin or Atlantic Avs and transfer to the 4. Take the 4 to Bowling Green and transfer to the 5 on the opposite platform. The 5 makes uptown 2 stops from Chambers St to 149 St-Grand Concourse.”

 

You got all that?

 

Not everyone does, not even with a map beside the text as a visual aid.

 

“You need a scorecard to keep up with it,” said Andrew Albert, chairman of the New York City Transit Riders Council. He hears an “unbelievable” number of complaints from flummoxed passengers. And if regular riders are often confused, Mr. Albert said, imagine the strain for tourists or for New Yorkers who are on a weekend excursion and using an unfamiliar subway line.

 

William Henderson is executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Even he has had his troubles.

 

“My son was going to a test prep class on Saturday mornings,” Mr. Henderson said. “I do this stuff for a living, and I’m sitting there on the platform as the train rolls in, trying to read the sign to figure out if this A train will stop where we needed to stop.”

 

“It is not,” he said, “an easy thing.”

 

Both Mr. Henderson and Mr. Albert sympathize with subway managers. So does Gene Russianoff, often a critic as a leader of the advocacy group called the Straphangers Campaign. So would any fair-minded person. Unlike systems elsewhere, New York’s subways run 24/7. When else would you sensibly do essential maintenance on the tracks except on weekends or late at night midweek?

 

But weekends are not the slack periods they once were. Ridership on Saturdays and Sundays averaged a combined 4.8 million in January, the highest figure in more than 35 years, said Paul J. Fleuranges, a spokesman for New York City Transit.

 

So when the No. 6 train skips five stations or the D train runs along N train tracks, thousands upon thousands of people may be thrown for a loop. They swipe their MetroCards, poor devils, totally unaware of the adventure that awaits them.

 

Mr. Fleuranges said his agency has “made strides in getting information out to people.” It posts advisories both in stations and on the transportation authority’s Web site. It sends word to 70,000 people who have signed up for e-mail notices of service changes.

 

Still, Mr. Albert says more could be done, like changing the notices’ typography so that riders can focus more readily on trains they care about. “When someone walks into a station and sees a wall of diversion notices, he turns off,” Mr. Albert said. “It’s worthless.”

 

On a northbound No. 4 train last Sunday, many passengers were unaware that they would skip five stations between 149th Street-Grand Concourse and Burnside Avenue. They were not happy. They were even less happy when the train stopped near the 167th Street station and didn’t budge for 19 minutes. Nor were they thrilled with the 14-minute wait at Burnside Avenue for a southbound train that would take them to the bypassed stops.

 

Between those delays and the trains’ slow pace even when they did move, the one-stop trip from 149th Street to 161st Street — normally a two-minute hop — took 53 minutes.

 

“Why am I stopped here?” a young woman on the stalled northbound train wailed into her cellphone. “This is the worst.”

 

At least she could vent to someone. Others were stuck with nothing better to do than to read the advertisements and perhaps wonder how Margarita was doing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My time in NYC is spent according to what time i have to leave, and how much time it takes to do the things i planned to do that day in between arrival & departure. Service changes can throw my whole day off by making me miss the last non-peak train, then having to either fork over more dollars on the train, or hold out for the first post-peak hour train, another option is to sprint to newark via PATH and hope to catch the right train. It isn't fun when that happens, because i do not drive, which means i gotta negotiate with whoever might be driving me from trenton home. Sometimes i end up walking to avoid it, which defeats the purpose of having the subway....

 

- Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's the problem with tourists. There's so many of them and so little of us to guide them. New York attitude is certainly not the most polite on the subway because half of the people ignore tourists with their questions.

 

The sterotype that New York is EXTREMELY hard to navigate in doesn't help either...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's the problem with tourists. There's so many of them and so little of us to guide them. New York attitude is certainly not the most polite on the subway because half of the people ignore tourists with their questions.

 

The sterotype that New York is EXTREMELY hard to navigate in doesn't help either...

 

 

Totally. Every time i see someone with a subway map standing at a station, or having a confused look or conversation about which way to go i immediately step up and tell them the fastest way to get where they are going in a very friendly tone.

 

- Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe the tourists are honored to have you as their service lol. :)

 

 

 

Haha! Some are very "on the DL" when i help them, repeating my suggestions as if i were not there, some are VERY gracious, and some have 5 million questions and i end up simply having them follow me to where they need to go (also very grateful). Often at the WTC path station i'll bring people up to speed on what's going on with the WTC site, some guy the other day offered me a 20 for it, but seeing as i lost friends there it didn't seem right to take it.

 

- Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Haha! Some are very "on the DL" when i help them, repeating my suggestions as if i were not there, some are VERY gracious, and some have 5 million questions and i end up simply having them follow me to where they need to go (also very grateful). Often at the WTC path station i'll bring people up to speed on what's going on with the WTC site, some guy the other day offered me a 20 for it, but seeing as i lost friends there it didn't seem right to take it.

 

- Andy

 

 

I usually wait for my girlfriend here, and people sometimes ask me what they are doing at the site. Currently though they are beginning the removal of the temporary station structure, so i may end up waiting at exchange place for her.

 

- Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The sterotype that New York is EXTREMELY hard to navigate in doesn't help either...
I find NYC to be incredibly easy to get around, if I get lost, I can just look @ a bus stop's map and follow it to a familiar bus/any train station. Anywhere else is difficult thanks to lack of maps and concern for customers (Centro of Oneida comes to mind).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I find NYC to be incredibly easy to get around, if I get lost, I can just look @ a bus stop's map and follow it to a familiar bus/any train station. Anywhere else is difficult thanks to lack of maps and concern for customers (Centro of Oneida comes to mind).

 

I find New York easy to navigate as well. It's just that tourist for some reason can't seem to do it AT ALL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I find New York easy to navigate as well. It's just that tourist for some reason can't seem to do it AT ALL.
It's annoying telling the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

 

Does this go to Parkchester?

Me: Yes, check the Train's strip map over there.

Is this Parkchester?

Me: Nope, this is Hunts Point Avenue.

Where is Parkchester?

Me: The Train's announcements will tell you.

Are we at Parkchester?

Me: NO.

How far are we from Parkchester?

Me: WTF!

I just want to know where I'm at.

 

 

ARGH!:mad::mad:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No kidding. That happens to me too. The (A)'s LCD showed up like this:

 

(A)/ WASHINTON HGTS

(A)/ 168 ST

(A)/8 AV LCL

 

and the annoucement guy said, "Local Local Local Local Local Local Local (A) train next stop 72nd street." Then the guy sitting next to me with some San Fransico T shirt took of his iPod and said, is this train local? WTF?!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.