Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yet Another Open Letter to the Morons of the LIRR


As a long time LIRR sufferer, AKA commuter I have lived through many fiascos associated with sub-standard equipment. But I do not limit the definition of the word equipment to the actual trains or railroad cars themselves. I include the tracks, the switches and most importantly that small piece of equipment located between the ears of management.
Anyone who lives in New York, or anywhere in the Northeast for that matter, can relate to horror stories about commuting during a sever winter storm. And while I am upset at the delays surrounding those meteorological events I do not place the blame fully on the shoulders of the LIRR brain trust.
Not fully.
Extenuating circumstances such as snowed-in workers who cannot get to their jobs may cause fewer trains etc.
But I am totally incensed by the lack of common sense when it comes to simple fixes that stare the people who run the LIRR right in the face!
There is a new study that shows riders do not like sitting in the middle seat of a three-seater on long commutes. Wow, I wonder how much of my ridiculously high monthly ticket payment went to fund that one!
How about a study on whether or not New Yorkers like stepping in dog poo on the way to work? Or how about, is it fun returning to our cars parked in LIRR lots only to find a great deal of pigeon droppings obscuring our windshield?
There will always be people who do not enjoy squeezing in-between 2 other commuters, especially considering this is 2012 America, if you get my drift!
And there will always be selfish trolls who insist on taking up two seats either by placing their possessions on the adjacent seat or by falling asleep, or feigning falling asleep across two seats.
These people must learn to live with humans or get jobs that allow them to work out of their homes or cages.
But I have a few suggestions for railroad management to ponder as they collect their exorbitant pay vis-a-vis their performance and look forward to collecting their phenomenal pensions.

1 – When a train is to be pulled out of service after it has been loaded and ready to go try to have an empty train across the platform.
Making angry upset, already tired and now late commuters run up the stairs searching for the new track is not only stupid but shows your continued lack of understanding how the world works.
And do not make the sheep do so at the same time you have announced that the train across the platform is now loading and headed for a different location. You see that means a train load of people will be pushing down the same stairway as the angry off-loaded commuters are pushing up.
What could possibly go wrong there?

2 – Many trains are overcrowded but only in the front few cars or the back few cars etc. This causes people to either stand or push past others who are standing; blocking their way to get to the next car and a possible seat.
Some of these people may decide to get off and wait for the next train. They will invariably have to push back up the stairs into the main herding area awaiting the next track posting.
How about making adjacent tracks always go to the same line?
In other words (for those of you who don’t know Pen Station this would make sense, trust me) if a Babylon Branch train is departing from track 15 at say 5:03 have the 5:19 Babylon bound train be on track 16!
This way a commuter may choose to wait and actually have time to walk back for seats, as the conductor is always suggesting.
And this would have the added benefit of allowing riders thrown off your many disabled trains to merely walk across the platform for the next dirty and late vehicle.

3 – Contingency plans should not be written in stone but rather be living entities that can change when a mistake is brought to light.
I was on a packed train a while back headed for just 3 stations; Merrick – Bellmore & Wantagh. The announcement that there was trouble with the brakes elicited the expected groans and the request for our patience was ludicrous since what else could we do but wait to get off?
The next announcement came moments after passing through Jamaica and brought quizzical looks to every normal person’s face. Since the train had to be pulled out of service we would be stopping at Freeport to let everyone off!
Standing on the platform in the rain I asked the conductor why they decided to stop and let everyone off in Freeport.
His immediate answer was the brakes weren’t working and they had to get us off the train for safety issues. He gave this answer with a slight condescending look as though to say, “Don’t question the railroad on safety. We know what we’re doing.”
But I replied that that was all well and good but since we had to stop at least once to let everyone off why not stop in Merrick since that would allow one-third of the angry, tired, late and wet customers to go home.
It would also mean that there would be less of us trying to cram onto the train coming to pick up the stranded customers.
But the best part was the reaction I received when I told all this to the conductor.
He looked at me and merely said, “Ha!” as though it was an unreal revelation!

I have so many other ideas that naturally I think are good but this post is long already so I‘ll end it.
If the railroad is really interested in what customers think they can ask me or any of the hundred’s of thousands of other captive slaves of their sub-par organization.
I can’t wait for summer and the power outages due to heat – which they never seem to expect.
Like a brain - A train is a terrible thing to waste!!!
Sad!

2 comments:

train buddy said...

I'm more than happy to add my two cents if they are truly interested in what you have to say. By the way were you thinking of me when you said that people put their belongings in the middle seat and feign sleeping?

Bruce Resch said...

Haha - Of course not! Actually you are definitely someone who would remove her bags should the need arise.
But middle seat or not there is so much wrong with this business that the only thing worse is Congress - And that's saying something!!
:-)