Friday, April 10, 2015

Another Day, Another Massive Delay

It happened again, folks. Around 4 PM on April 9th, a known panhandler either jumped or fell between two cars as the train he was on left Penn Station. All service was stopped, the man was taken to a hospital, and commuters were stuck. I was happy to read that the panhandler only has minor injuries. He is expected to recover.

This turned the evening commute into a disaster. I'm on vacation this week, and admit I was sad to have missed a day of excellent TTIV material. But I got over it quickly, as several readers fed me bits and pieces about their experiences. It's great to have a TTIV Information Bureau.

I have some thoughts to share.

I'm surprised this happens so infrequently. 300,000 Long Island Rail Road commuters come through Penn Station each day on 735 trains. People walk through the cars to sit where they want. It can be unsettling to go from car to car when the train is moving, I'm surprised that more commuters aren't injured in this scenario.

The schedulers earn their pay on days like this. I give credit to the schedulers who reset the timetables when this stuff happens. When things come back to life, these guys do "Rain Man" mathematics to reset departure times. It's impressive.

Get out of Penn Station! When train service is disrupted, amateurs stand like sheep waiting for service announcements. Forget that! Take control of the situation and go to Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal, Hunters Point Avenue, or take the E train to Jamaica and pick up the LIRR there.

I know what you're saying. "I can't go to Brooklyn! I don't have a beard or skinny jeans." Don't worry, not everyone is a hipster in Brooklyn. If you feel awkward, keep a fake beard and glue in your commuting survival kit and pull it out in case of emergency. You'll blend just fine. If anyone asks you questions, simply stroke your beard and state with a sneer, "I work for a startup," or "I'm on an ultra-vegan raw diet." You can then walk away in a huff. It's all about the attitude.

Waiting at Penn Station will have undesirable effects. Standing in Penn Station for longer than you'd like may lead to suicidal thoughts. If you take your life during a massive delay, you'll add to the problem.

And finally, if the injured panhandler is reading this from his hospital room, I hope you are ok. I hope you get the help you need to get your life on track. And if you decide to continue panhandling when you are released from the hospital, please use Grand Central instead. It's much prettier there.

Happy and safe commuting, and may you encounter uncommon sense.
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