Sunday, April 10, 2016

Othello's Bus Delay Terminology Translator

Hi all, today's story comes from a guest, who we'll call Othello. He takes a NJ Transit bus each day, and just as we Long Island Rail Road denizens have to translate terms like "track condition," Othello has to decipher bus euphemisms.

I travel into NYC via NJ Transit bus. The service is mostly reliable, but the rush-hour commute into New York by vehicle is brutal. NJ Transit has no magic wand to fix the the inevitable issues that slow traffic, so we all have to endure delays as a fact of life.

Just as Eskimos have hundreds of words for snow, NJ Transit has many terms to describe the usual, everyday, slow rush-hour service. Here are a few of my favorites.

Inclement Weather. In the eyes of NJ Transit, overcast skies, drizzle, and monsoon are equivalent weather conditions. Of course, "inclement weather" serves as a valid excuse for service delays. Essentially, anytime the weather isn't perfectly bright, clear, and sunny, it's inclement. And you'll be late.

Heavy Volume. You can hear an announcement about heavy volume any day of the week and twice on weekends. NJ Transit seems to think that "heavy volume" is a reason for service delays that should be announced.

Police Activity. Why not just call what it is? An accident. If they are earnest and
prefer to be more descriptive and clear, it could be stated as a "mind-numbing, soul-crushing delay of monumental proportions." THAT would be more communicative.

Incident. An "incident" differs from "police activity" in that what it actually means is anybody's guess. It might cover breakdowns, spontaneous highway picnicking, or something else. The Lincoln Tunnel is only 1.5 miles long, so anyone involved with any type of breakdown should be drawn and quartered. If your vehicle is not reliable, it does not belong in the Lincoln Tunnel.

Residual Delays. My personal favorite. Whenever an obstruction (accident, disabled vehicle, etc.) occurs in the Lincoln Tunnel corridor and is then cleared up, NJ Transit helpfully informs us that there may be residual delays. I like their use of the word "residual." It implies something small, leftover, insignificant. As opposed to the massive, nay epic, logjams that occur whenever there is even the slightest hiccup in the Lincoln Tunnel corridor.

I dream of the day when the delays are merely "residual."

Thanks Othello for sharing your thoughts on the joys of bus commuting. Have you got a commuting story? Doesn't need to be about trains, it can be about buses, ferries, subways, or rickshaws. See links below for how to share.

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