Laughing at Traffic From My NJ Transit Bus Perch
By Anthony Buccino
Hey, there's nothing more I'd love to do beside complain about NJ Transit service. Complaining about PATH service and NJT are second only to complaining what to wear when I'm standing on a corner waiting for a bus at 20-degrees or less.
If you read Upton Sinclair's novel "The Jungle" in high school or college, or just for fun, you may remember the portion that covered a snow storm in Chicago about a hundred years ago.
There wasn't much of a Chicago Transit Authority to move workers around or a department of sanitation to plow the snow. In those days you went to work or you didn't get paid. That often meant braving the snow covered streets and whirling winds. There was no hanging around in a bus shelter waiting for NJ Transit bus to take you where you want to go.
This morning, for instance, not being a school teacher, I had to fend my way from northeast Essex County to the Jersey City side of the Hudson River. This I do every work day and the only thing different today is all that white stuff that's been falling since the sun went down last night.
Hey, there's nothing more I'd love to do beside complain about NJ Transit service. Complaining about PATH service and NJ Transit are second only to complaining what to wear when I'm standing on a corner waiting for a bus at 20-degrees or less.
But this morning, I have nothing to complain about. I got to my corner on fairly plowed roads. I took a freshly abandoned parking place, and waited about 5 minutes or so for the 74 Branch Brook Station bus to transport me safely and dryly to the Newark City Subway station.
I could complain about that first step into the slush pile as I tried to board the bus. But I've had to climb mountains to board other buses in other storms at this same corner.
I'd love to complain that the bus driver dropped us off a hundred feet from the Subway access and after we disembarked then pulled up even with the access. But today, that didn't happen.
I'd love to complain about the ice and piles of snow I had to wade through to get to the waiting area at Branch Brook Station, but it was clear enough to get through.
Oh, man, I'd love to grouse and moan about waiting forever for the next light rail car to show up while the wind sliced through my clothes and bones and exited the other side. But, heck, the light rail showed up in less time than it took me to open my Ledger.
I'd love to groan about standing room only, but I got a double seat all to myself. And the car wasn't too hot, or too cold, and like the baby bear's food, it was just right.
At the end of my trip on NJ Transit's Newark Light Rail or City Subway, or whatever they call it, the railroad bulls were there checking for tickets on the first main traveling day of March. And one of those guys had the nerve to say, "good morning," with a smile.
All this splendid serendipity is making me think about karma, and that if things are going so well for, for you, they must suck. Why not take a minute or two from your online gaming and tell my about your trip to work in the snow today.
- Happy trails,
LAUGHING AT TRAFFIC FROM MY NJ TRANSIT BUS PERCH first published by Anthony R Buccino/NJ Voices on March 02, 2009; updated April 29, 2009.
© 2009 Anthony Buccino
commuting in Northern New Jersey. Feel the rhythm of
the rails as you travel the last days of the Newark
City Subway, or the PATH, and be relieved you are
not present to hear the Preacher Man or Mr.
Tourette's but do listen for the noise above the hum
of the wheels and turn your ear to the voices on the
bus, train or standing nearby on the platform.
Verse about commuting in Northern New Jersey. Feel the rhythm of the rails as you travel the last days of the Newark City Subway, or the PATH, and be relieved you are not present to hear the Preacher Man or Mr. Tourette's but do listen for the noise above the hum of the wheels and turn your ear to the voices on the bus, train or standing nearby on the platform.
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New Jersey author Anthony Buccino's stories of the 1960s, transit coverage and other writings earned four Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards.
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