Monday, January 29, 2007

This little lady right here was the victim of ticket discrimination on the LIRR Saturday night. She had her January monthly ticket and was on her way to Flatbush. The conductor who punched the F for female was a little over zealous and went punch happy. For roughly 22 days Steph didn't encounter any problems, until the other night that is. She was informed by the conductor on the 6:14 train that her ticket was in fact not her ticket. The ticket she had belonged to someone else and she had to pay for her own. With months of commuting aggravation behind her she went off..."This is my ticket. I paid for it! I ride the LIRR every day to work!" Even when all of this was said the stupid conductor had his doubts. Finally Stephanie proved herself right and he went off to harrass more passengers. But he left Stephanie feeling angry and hurt. Just because it's the weekend and she's not in her work attaire does not mean she didn't purchase her ticket.
This happened once before, but the conductor was right. My Dad had borrowed my monthly ticket on a day I wasn't heading into the city. The conductor called him out on it not being his ticket. But he played it right and convinced this conductor that the F had been punched all month long and no one had noticed.
Due to the high cost of monthly tickets why can't they be shared amongst family members? Or why do you have to be harrassed just because you're not in a suit!

Friday, January 26, 2007

This Just In!

I just heard not more than 5 minutes ago that the LIRR is finally doing something about the gaps at Flatbush! Major construction? Adding a plank to the platform? NO!!! All to simple. They're just going to only open the first 4 cars at each track. Genius! Sure.....

Apparently they plan on doing this at other dangerous stations. This is to keep people from falling into the gap. It's the cheap and quick fix. What they seem to be forgetting is how overcrowded the open cars will soon become. What they are forgetting is how they tell us not to walk through the train cars while the train is in motion. I only see disaster ahead. The LIRR should suck it up and repair each platform. These quick fixes will only lead to more accidents.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mmmm Tracks!

Last night I was going out near Penn Station and had to pick a meeting place. Of course Tracks was the obvious answer. Thank goodness it's a happening place because Beth and I were a half hour late and kept Tom waiting.

When we finally got there Tom was hungry and ordered the crab cakes! (Of course!) He agrees, they're damn good! I got a little nibble and was statisfied. It's been a long time since I've had a bite of those delectable treats! Makes me want to go back for more!

On a side note not taking the LIRR home has greatly improved my life. The past two nights I was able to stay out late with my friends and not have to worry about rushing for a train. In fact I left after my usual 1:46 train would've left and made home earlier. Talk about service! Service aside the crowd is a lot better too. I have not encountered a drunk train. I'm sure most of the people on the subway that late at night are drunk but they're not rowdy Long Island people.

Beware of the gap

I got off the phone a short while ago with my Mom and she was telling me that Newsday is running features on the LIRR and the gap problem in the most recent issues. (She's keeping these articles for me and I will scan them in once I have them)

The gap issue has always been there. I've always been cautious and have constantly brought up the trouble with Track 17. As it turns out many people have been injured by the large gaps. Not to mention how dangerous the platforms are in the winter when it snows. I remember too many times trying to avoid slipping on a patch of ice.

The gap hazards are finally being addressed due to a number of unforunate accidents in the recent months. Supposedly they are working on adjustments at multiple stations. As you can see from this photo signage is not the answer. This shot was taken by my Dad at the Flatbush station. When a train pulls in the "watch your gap" along the wall is blocked. What's the point!? I suppose one could say the LIRR is trying but they shouldn't have to. There should never have been an issue with the gaps. If the subways can handle it why can't the LIRR?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The kindness of strangers

Yesterday morning was a rainy commute. Not torrential downpours but enough to break out the daisy rain boots. I managed to get a seat on the train when I noticed a woman calling to the woman sitting next to me. The bottom of her paper shopping bag was wet and everything was falling through. Next thing I know the man sitting across from us was handing her a plastic bag he fished out of his coat pocket.

It's not often you seen kind acts on the subway, let alone two in a row. It was nice to see that people are paying attention and willing to come to the aide of others.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

5 and a 1/2 hours of HELL!

Last night as I was making my way to Joe's birthday dinner I heard a first time ever announcement in the subways.

"There is no Long Island Railroad Service from Penn Station to Jamaica due to police activity. Please take the E to Suphtin Blvd and connect there."

I was stunned. Never have I heard just information being broadcasted at multiple stations! 59th st/Columbus Circle and 7th Ave I heard this. Last night was a night I was happy not to be commuting on the LIRR.

My sister, Stephanie, arrived in Penn and it was a mob scene. Gates were being drawn and people were being forced to exit. Being on her toes she fled to Flatbush in hopes of catching a train from there. She was able to board a train to Valley Stream and with the help of Laurie's directions our Mom was able to pick her up.

My brother, Jamie, was not so lucky. As it turns out a teenager was close to the tracks working on his graffiti when he got hit and killed by a train. Jamie was in the train behind the one that hit the the kid. He was on the 5:27 express to Valley Stream. He arrived home 5 and a 1/2 hours later around. The passengers who were on the train that was involved in the accident were rescued by another train that took them back to Penn Station. Jamie's train sat there until 8:30.

At 8:30 when they began heading home the conductors discovered break damage. This then lead them on a 2 hour journey to Jamaica at a snails pace. When Jamie's train finally arrived at Jamaica they transferred to a working train that was suddenly a local. None of these passengers were going to get off at the local stops since they were on an express train. Eventually Jamie made it home.

I was told that no one on his train freaked out. They remained calm. Since it was an early train there weren't that many people and everyone had a seat. I can only imagine the scene if people were standing. There would've been yelling, fainting, possibly even a fist fight. Early on when the announcement was made that there would be delays people quickly got up and formed a line for the bathroom. Obviously commuting pros.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Has February been replaced!?

I can reveal very little information right now but I think my favorite ticket might be replaced. I will post it's competition in a few weeks to see what everyone thinks. I will not have this wonderous new ticket in my possession until then. Please wait and don't let the suspense kill you. I can only say that it was pointed out to me and it's amazing.


This entry is from New Years 2 years ago.....

I took the 1:46 train home with Erin because I was exhausted from the week's activities and whatnot. Usually new year's calls for the 3:49 home, but this year was different. This year we bailed early. It was almost a mistake, we were almost pulverized by fellow passengers.

For some reason the track was announced 20 minutes before departure.

Bad idea.

Stupid idea.

Worst idea ever.

Everyone was so drunk I was waiting for the bodies to start piling up on the tracks. Luckily no one fell off the platform. But when that train pulled up it was every man for himself. The crowd gathered at the door and when those doors opened people went down. Pushing began, shoving ensued, screaming was heard all throughout the station. I myself took part in the screaming as I was slammed up against the outside of the train. "What the hell is wrong with you people!!??" I bellowed. No reply. Just more shoving.

I made my way into the train, stepping over a person, for had I not I would soon become the one that was being stepped over. I found seats for me and Erin and settled in to watch the insanity continue. Everyone who was on the platform as the train pulled in was able to get a seat. There was no reason for the mob scene that occurred, none whatsoever. Those that arrived later on had to stand, which makes sense. Show up late on new years for a train you're going to stand. Deal with it.

And deal with it they did. I was in the musical car. There were a group of kids singing up a storm from oldies to music from today. It would've been a nice treat had they been able to carry a tune, but at least it made the ride go by. Sitting in front of me and Erin was a "man", she looked a lot like Lyndsey Lohan, but more butch. And her, she must've been a man before the operation. She kept flirting with a cop that was standing in the aisle. But her way of flirting was downright creepy, she just stared at him. She didn't even smile. I believe he smiled back out of fear. He probably thanked the lord that he was armed should she do anything drastic. Her pig friend, really...she looked like a pig, was terrified of the gun and kept moving away. Overall they annoyed me and Erin a great deal. We discussed this through Erin's text messaging, she had no voice to speak with. What a night! Everything calmed down after we changed at Jamaica. It became a smooth sailing from there!

A Hush Falls Over the Train

I thought this morning would be a jam packed commute with everyone heading back to work after the holidays. My train was empty. I got a prime seat and there were still many empty seats before we even left Queens. Not only was the train empty it was quiet. You could hear a pin drop. No one was talking, coughing, yawning, or panhandling.....nothing. Suddenly right before my stop I had a coughing fit. I couldn't help it. I broke the silence. People glared but what could I do? There was no way I was going to stiffle my cough and choke for strangers.

Ib went through the same thing on the LIRR this morning. She too was on a silent train and was terrified of making a noise. Where is everyone!? Why was no one working today!? Are Ib and I chumps? Should we have been fast alseep in our cozy beds instead of on dirty uncomfortable trains? Maybe. Tomorrow will probably back to normal. Fingers crossed I get a seat! I don't mind standing but it's always a nice treat.