Transit Strife

by sam on 04/23/2006

I’m normally of the opinion that the New York public transit system is one of the best inventions in the world. Go anywhere for $2 (or, if you’re me, “nothing”, because you have a yearly unlimited metrocard from work). Live in one of the only places in America where the majority of the population does not own a car. But then there are days like today.

I took a trip down to Soho to visit the Apple Store (a fairly regular occurrence), to attend a digital photo/photoshop presentation. Which was cool (although I realized that I probably needed the advanced class – yes, I know what a drop down menu is). That was pretty uneventful. Then, I had to come back home.

And the fun started.

I have to preface this by pointing out that I subscribe to the weekly MTA advisories, where the MTA e-mails you with all of the random service interruptions and changes that will be occurring on the weekends. I always check out what my local trains are doing, and this Friday was no different. Here’s what it said:


Uptown trains run local from 59 to 145 St
All times until 5 AM Fri, May 12

So, anyhow, To get back home I walk up to the D train station, and get on. Now, knowing that the train is running local, it means that it will stop at my normal station. When it runs express, it goes directly from Columbus Circle to 125th street with no stops in between.

Train stops at Rockefeller Center. Conductor makes an announcement that this train will be making all local stops.

Okay, good. Conductor just reaffirming what the advisory said, for those people who don’t get them.

Train stops at 7th Avenue. Conductor makes another announcement that he’ll be making all local stops.

Train gets to Columbus Circle. Conductor makes at least 3 more announcements while the train is held there, both that the train will be making all local stops and the next stop will be 72nd street (my stop). Now, if the train was running it’s normal route, this is where I would get off and wait for the C train (mind you, the reason the D is running local is that for some reason, the C is running express). But hey, I’ve heard at least 5 announcements at this point that the train will be going my way.

Doors close. I start gathering up my stuff. And we blow past 72nd Street. And 81st street. and 86th street. and 96th street. and 101st street. and Cathedral Parkway. and 116th street.

If you haven’t guessed it by now, that’s right, the friggin’ train ran express! And I even double checked with the two guys sitting near me that I wasn’t going crazy, and they’re all “you’re totally right, the conductor absolutely said the train was running local”. Argh.

So, needless to say I was a bit pissed off.

Got off the train at 125th, hiked up and down the stairs with my packages to get to the other platform and catch the downtown C train, which is running local (the signs point out that the uptown is running express), get on the train after about a 15 minute wait, and…

yup. The downtown C ran express. So. After 45 minutes of traveling underground, I’m back at Columbus Circle.

At which point I get the hell out of the subway and find the damn bus.

Now, I’m sure every tourist has a story about how they got on the wrong train and “accidentally” ended up in Harlem. This usually occurs when they’re waiting for the B (to go somewhere like the Museum of Natural History) and accidentally get on a D, which runs on the same track. Common error. But one that I’m generally proud to say, as a local, that I generally don’t make. But this? This was sabotage.

Why on earth would the conductor make at least five separate announcements and then immediately do the exact opposite? It just makes no sense.

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