Hey, this about anything I can write here right? Here goes...
My wife and I get to the Port Authority bus station in NYC, for the NJ transit lines that go back to, you guessed it, New Jersey. There is only one bus left to leave that night for the 167, which goes via Teaneck, Queene Anne Road (or Teaneck rd) and pointy north, which is near where I live. One o'clock comes around, which is when the bus is supposed to come.
5 minutes turn into ten minutes. ten into thirty. thirty into an hour.
Into the hour, we knew something was totally fucked. Fucked and fucked up. This is a case where I cannot say fuck enough times. Tonight I should be Joe Pesci.
No Bus. No Announcement as to what has happened, or that another bus might come or that the bus is actually cancelled. Finally after about an hour, a guy calls the information line for the Control Desk for NJ transit. Turns out the bus, our bus apparently, got rear-ended while in the Lincoln Tunnel. Ok, it sure as hell sucks a box of dicks, but at least it's some kind of excuse... still shitty, since it's a PORT AUTHORITY BUS TERMINAL, and there should be at least a few people- yes, even after 1 AM- who can be there to make sure that shit gets done and another bus comes around. That's the fucking deal. If you know, and know very well, that there are a good two dozen (give or take a few) waiting for a bus, you fucking come with something.
Now, perhaps this could have been forgivable if NJ Transit kept their word. They did not, alas, do this. Perhaps they're just idiots, or it's just total haphazard business practices (ticket prices were raised a full dollar recently, btw, nice), but when the NJ transit dude called to one of the passengers waiting at the Info-Phone, they said that "Yes, there's been an accident of the rear-hit nature, but the bus is coming back, we'll see what we can do" sort of thing. Turns out sometime soon after this (though not soon enough), we find out from Info-Phone Fucker that a) the bus is now in Oradell, NJ(...XCNME(I#JFD(EN D#OIDN$E!?!?! WHAAAT?!), and b) they're not sure when the replacement bus will come.
We finally hear back twenty minutes later. It's going to be another hour.
This became the breaking point. For so long my anxiousness turned into downright anger, and an intensity to want to punch someone. Luckily I was oddly centered, wanting to be pragmatic about what to do next. This isn't like the end of the world that we're frakking stranded in Manhattan 42nd & 8th street at 2:42 in the morning. And you know what? In part I am of course pissed at the inconsiderate, unacceptable behavior of the NJ Transit for this, but the rage is also there for everyone else. These poor people who have to use the bus, they have no choice by way of, for example, being out of towners (one guy said he was at some hotel in Ridgefield Park and so by that it sounded like he was very much out of town), or they can't even afford a cab ride or don't have another way to get home. I wonder if they're still there as I type this, into the oblivion of a night waiting in the Port Authority for the first bus of the NEXT day coming for them.
I keep wondering now also as I type this if and how I should file some kind of formal complaint or something against NJ Transit. It's so outrageous and unprofessional, completely disregarding so many people stranded (and it's not like other buses weren't coming, but seriously, not ONE extra bus, not ONE person who could come forward and help us out. It would be one thing if we were at some tiny Bus Terminal, even like the George Washington bridge one. But this is the Port Authority, a fairly major place. And yes, it does get quiet after One O'Clock, not as many buses going, but still, have someone there, ANYONE who can figure shit out and get people going... somewhere!?!
This is one of those situations that mucks up a good lot of the night. While my night would have still been back to the home by 1:30 if everything had gone to plan, I would still have a little time to sort of relax... that is, I also had an assignment for class, very easy to do, very likely a quick thing to do... and now it's past the deadline I could submit it. This is one of those things I can complain about, but it's nowhere near as valid to do than what caused it tonight.
Bureocratic fuck-uppery. Oh, and there was no one on the NJ Transit phone when many of us on line tried to call. One more 'screw you and your friend too' gesture. Thank goodness for three other dudes looking to share a cab back to Teaneck.
Perhaps this is a sign: no more public transportation. The idea for this initially was for protection for us, in a sense, that we wouldn't have the worry of getting in an accident or balyhoo on the road in a buzzed (or just intoxicated manner). This is fair, for the most part. But perhaps it really is just more worth it to be responsible for my own transportation as driver, even if I have to wait a while to be totally functional (it was my wife's request really for tonight's way of NJ Transit into the city). It certainly would help when bad luck (or lack of God take your pick) screw over the many.
This is the kind of night that gives bittersweet it's fullest meaning (I neglect to mention that before this I went to a party with friends with my old lady, which made the night actually, ultimately, bittersweet on the whole, though the bitter being poisonous). It's a whale of a story, and just another piece in the collection of moments in my life and things seen and heard everywhere that makes me lose a little hope in humanity. I want to get even more enraged, maybe kick a tree, listen to some Rage Against the Machine.
Well, it's good knowing that the Port Authority fucks up everywhere. Port Authority is planning on cutting routes, raising prices and laying off employees (which my dad is actually one of them, although we're not sure if he's going to be laid off or not). I live in Pittsburgh, where the downtown is the main business district with not nearly enough parking for the tens of thousands of people who have to work there, so even if you do have a car, you're not going to find parking. There are tons of middle class people who use the bus to get to work and school because it's easier and cheaper than parking but now PAT is cutting service to entire areas. You think that since it gets government funding AND has such high costs (2.00 one way, 2.75 two), they could try to make sure that the transportation is acceptable. I think it's all a cause of terrible management, but that's just me.
And yes, I use the bus. My vision isn't good enough for driving and I actually kinda like just being able to sit there and read or just think (unless a hobo decides to sit next to me, but that's only happened once).
Oh, in NYC it's much higher. I take a 'Zone 3' bus ride when I have to go from my house in Teaneck to 42nd and 8th in midtown Manhattan. This used to be $3.40, and now it's $4.25. I know it sounds small in the grand scheme of things, but just think how it builds up for people who just a) don't drive, and b) don't have the funds to take a cab. I understand totally now why more people precisely do NOT take in public transportation. I kind of want to hug my car this morning.