To all the readers of this blog: My most profound apologies for not posting for a while.
There are times when life intrudes, and this has been one. However, after settling into a new job and taking care of some important family business, it’s time to get back to the keyboard.
My new job involves using public transportation from the Garden State of New Jersey, and though this may appear to be a trivial place to start a new blog post, I feel compelled.
Anyone who uses the giant dowager this is the Port Authority Bus Terminal knows it has seen better days. In fact, much better days. Lately, however, Port Authority’s shortcomings have come into sharp focus, at least for me.
One night last week, I reached the mezzanine area to catch my bus to be presented with a scene of utter chaos.
Due to inclement weather, busses were running behind schedule. Yet that was only half the reason for what was going on.
Lines, four, five, six of them, were snaking throughout the floor. the worst part was that only a few people knew for sure which line led to their specific bus.
Alas, there was no one from the terminal to assist them. All we heard was a drone-like announcement, something like “ATTENTION ATTENTION. Due to the inclement weather there are delays both inbound and outbound”. You can imagine how tired that sounded after a half hour on a line that didn’t move much.
To be clear, this isn’t the typical scene at Port Authority. Most days and nights it functions as intended, that is, a way station for people looking to go someplace.
However, for me this leads to another pet peeve.
During the snows of the past few days, commuters have been treated to the sight of numerous garbage cans, buckets, and those yellow warning boards spread throughout the terminal. The reason? The ceiling is leaking, leaking in multiple places. Look up, and you see sagging, aging tiles and ceiling fixtures that look like they’re o their last legs.
The upshot is this. Not only is the terminal old, but it hasn’t been well maintained. Now step back a bit and consider this. The same people responsible for those leaky ceilings are the ones who gifted Jersey residents with Bridgegate, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
You know, the authority that’s become a repository for all manner of political hackery, courtesy of the governors of both states. You’d think that with all the money they take in (and put in their pockets in the form of inflated salaries), they’d find a new bucks to fix the ceilings at the bus terminal. Now, there have been plans announced to “renovate” the Port Authority, plans that, if memory serves, go back several years. Don’t hold your breath.
What’s even more maddening is the recent announcement that this same Port Authority is planning to spend some $27.6 billion dollars over the next decade to “upgrade transportation infrastructure in the metropolitan area”. Nice. Nowhere in the glossy release about fixing the area’s airports, bridges, tunnels, and the like is there much attention paid to the bus terminal. Maybe one day in the next 10 years they’ll fix those leaky ceilings.
As a true blue new Yorker, I know these issues bear the same for the Long Island Railroad, Metro North, Path….post a comment about your commute experience. As always….I’m curious!