Oh the humanity! (Or: How I learned to start worrying and hate the Port Authority Bus Terminal)
Posted by Jamie Insalaco
It’s been 10 years since I regularly made the commute from New Jersey to Midtown Manhattan’s Port Authority Bus Terminal via New Jersey Transit, but Dr. MyFiancee still fights the good fight each and every day. And although nearly 4000 days have passed since my own bi-daily excursions into the unknown, little has changed, if anything.
I long for simpler days when all you had to worry about during your commute was looking after your grandfather, pop musicians making a fuss and disagreements over the window.
The Port Authority Bus Terminal is ripe with problems. It’s nice that they’ve finally started renovating the bathrooms, but they’re not especially useful when they’re occupied with people literally living in the stalls. Obviously, this is a separate social issue that needs addressing (the greatest city in the greatest country should be able to do better for its people than a stall in a bus station), but when you couple issues like this with yet another rape, the underlying problem becomes a bit more clear. Then you hear terrible ideas like this: rather than renovating the existing structure, instead construct a new building on the Jersey side, so then bus riders would then be obliged to hope a train, thus adding another cumbersome leg to their journey. One can only hope that better organization (inability to keep to a schedule, unannounced gate changes, etc) and facilities are on the way, but realistically, I get the feeling I’ll be dust by the time things are working a satisfactory manner at a state of the art facility that the people of our metro area deserve.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Transit is not close to avoiding a union strike and owes tons of money for their never-ending cross-honoring when confronted with delays rather than fixing the issues that cause delays. Delays, delays, delays… if it snows, there’s a delay. If it rains, there’s a delay. If I let out a big sneeze, there’s a delay… clearly, something is wrong. And you’d think there’d at least be an app that tracks bus movements so you can plan accordingly rather than just hang out on the corner sarcastically calling out to passing motorists, “Hey sugar – need a date?” but you’d better think again.
Maybe we’ll get there someday, but for now, all we can do is wait, hope, and continue to suffer inconvenience… and continue to pay more.
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