First, a little story.
Had a late gig in another borough Friday night. Was in a good mood when it was done, decided to hang for another glass of wine before leaving. So I did, then hit the road. After walking to the train, I discovered that my train was not running. I asked the token booth clerk – as it was a station which still has them, reminding all this station isn’t in a poverty-stricken locale – where to get the shuttle bus replacement for this train. Waking from her nap at hearing my voice, she said “I don’t know where it stops. Somewhere upstairs, on the streets, somewhere around here.” I went upstairs and saw several signs saying the train wasn’t running. There were no signs indicating where there was a shuttle bus, or where it might stop.
After some walking around, I found the stop– a block and a half from the station, on a side street. No signs anywhere indicating location of shuttle bus. Or existence of a shuttle bus. Except at the stop itself. So, if you found the shuttle bus (no help from the clerk assigned to dispense that info), you at least had confirmation of your victory.
I took the bus to a train that normally wouldn’t be running at that time, or at least not on this route. I took the second one to arrive, not realizing it was replacing the route of the train that normally stops there, one which I’d not normally have any reason to take except my usual train wasn’t running. So I took THIS train to another train, which I then took to another train.
And it’s THIS 3rd train that I took to get to the train I would need to take home. Except my homeward-bound train was running on a shortened route, so I had to get this at a different spot than usual, but still connecting from the same train.
Trust me, if I included all the #s and letters and routes & station names, it would not become any clearer than my experience. Hang in there.
So I get to my homeward-bound train at this different stop than would be usual for me. No matter– it’s my homeward-bound train, I’m at least seeing the literal light at the end of the literal tunnel.
Then we get to the last stop. Or, rather, what is the last stop for tonight– it’s not going all the way. I am very sleepy by this point, and discover that there is a shuttle bus here. No worries about where it stops, this time there are plenty of big signs all over, clearly signalling where to go. (In a refreshing departure from reasonable expectations, the token booth clerk was awake, alert, and assisting customers with accurate info.)
But when I get to the shuttle bus, I see that it’s only going a few stops, not to where I need to be, not to all the places normally covered by my homeward-bound train. I ask the driver before getting on if this is the same path for ALL the shuttle buses stopping here. He says yes and, as I start to step off, he tells me the train picks back up at the conclusion of HIS route. So that this bus is just covering a few stations, then the train resumes from that point, continuing the uptown journey. I ask him if he’s sure; this sounds suspect to me. He says absolutely, says this with an assurance rarely heard from MTA personnel, says it with an unconcealed distaste for my skepticism. So I get back on this shuttle bus.
We reach his last stop. I ask again if he’s certain that this is correct, that the train, in fact, picks back up here. He seemed to be choking back the word “asshole”, as he pointed to a subway entrance across the street, one with big signs in front of it. I say OK, get off the bus, he pulls away, and I cross the street. I get to the entrance. And see up close all the big signs. Which all say there are no trains stopping there, in any direction.
So I wait for the shuttle bus BACK to where I’d initially gotten on it, where I’d initially received my misinformation from the driver. I’d really kinda hoped it was the same guy going back– kinda wanted to NOT choke back my “asshole”. In keeping with my luck for the entirety of this trip, he wasn’t the driver who arrived.
So I get back to where my homeward-bound train had ceased. I go back into the subway, and take a different train, one which was actually continuing uptown, albeit not exactly to my final destination. Took it to the last stop. Then went above ground, to another well-marked (whatwhat?!) shuttle bus, which took me the rest of the way.
And at 5:54 AM, I arrived home, just under 4 hours after I’d left the other borough. The final stats: 5 trains, 4 shuttle buses and, minimally, 2 outright examples of employee incompetence via inaccurate or incomplete info.
Tonight we have an awesome show, “No Name @ The Kilt: Downtown Comedy Comes Uptown”. Great lineup, no cover charge, great (& not expensive) burgers, PBRs for under $3. And I can walk home from the joint.
I NEED YOU TO SUPPORT THIS SHOW SO WE CAN DO MORE SHOWS THAT I CAN WALK HOME FROM. AND SO I’M LESS LIKELY TO MURDER SOMEONE WHO’S JOB IS TO ASSIST ME.
In conclusion, I invite you to join me in two words for the MTA. The second one is “you”.
Have a great day. Enjoy the weather. Come play with us tonight, 10 pm (21 & over, please) at The Piper’s Kilt, located on Broadway near 207th St. It’s right upstairs from the A train stop @ 207 St. The A train will be running tonight. In case you need that information.