Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Yesterday was probably in my top 5 worst days ever in terms of commuting. When I left the house around 8:15 AM it was about 35-40 degrees. Sometime around 11-12 it started snowing, and by about 2 it was blizzarding heavily. The wind was insane. Snow stopped around 5 PM and the sun came out – wee!

So I end up leaving work at the normal time, 6:45. There’s ice all over the street. I get into Penn Station and my train is operating about 2 minutes late, which is pretty good considering the weather.

As the train approaches Jamaica we come to a dead stop. After 10 minutes of sitting, the conductor comes on the PA and announces that we’re waiting for track space in Jamaica. Another 10 minutes and we’ve moved about 30 feet or so. This is a PACKED LIRR train – people are standing shoulder to shoulder pretty much, as usual these days.

So we finally roll into Jamaica 20-25 minutes late, and of course my connecting train has long since departed. So once again I get to pass the time in the “New” HORRIBLE FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT Jamaica Station LIRR waiting area. Whoever designed this fucking thing should be sued, and then hunted down and shot. The way Jamaica used to work was that there was an enclosed overpass that connected all 8 train tracks. If was a decent waiting area because it had a TV and – get this – HEAT!

The new Jamaica LIRR waiting area is a fucking eyesore and is probably the most poorly designed structure I’ve ever had the misfortune to enter. Now, instead of a nice enclosed tunnel, we are expected to stand in this cavernous steel/glass enclosure that is *OPEN ON THE NORTH AND SOUTH SIDES*, creating a sort of wind tunnel. It had stopped snowing around 4 PM but in the LIRR waiting area of Jamaica Station it was like a fucking blizzard with the snow blowing around and around. There are these glass panels up there that keep you from jumping down onto a train – these glass panels were pure white, covered with snow, despite the fact that there’s a 50 foot ceiling over them for 100 feet in all directions. Someone took the liberty of writing “The MTA HAS NO CLUE” and “THIS FACILITY SUCKS!!” in the snow on the glass panels. Oh, also the waiting area has 3 or 4 heat lamps – enough for maybe 7 or 8 people to stand under – as its only heat source.

I have no idea if the Jamaica station is “done” or if there is still more to build, but assuming it’s “done” in terms of leaving the north and south sides completely open, whoever designed it should have his/her/their architecting license revoked and then burned. A FUCKING WIND TUNNEL AS A WAITING AREA!

So then my train finally rolls in around 8-8:30 PM. We pull out of Jamaica and all is well until the train stops and the conductor gets on the PA to inform us that the switches are frozen and we have to wait for them to thaw. So I’m thinking, man when am I going to get home, April?

Anyway to cut the story short I got home around 9:30. Let me reiterate how happy I am to be paying 5% more to the MTA for this great service. I can deal with weather issues and can cut them some slack, but don’t raise the rates and then give shittier service. One day I’ll have to get into the issue of the fucking “new” M7 trains that the LIRR keeps touting as being so wonderful, but they are uncomfortable, poorly designed trains that smell like shitters on wheels.


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