Woes of Transit

I’m sure that all of you are familiar with the New York City Transit, aka, the subway, the bus, etc.  Even if you only lived in the city for a few weeks, you know what it is.  It’s one of the most extensive public transportation networks in the world, connecting from the Bronx to Brooklyn, from Queens to Greenwich Village.  It’s one of the most reliable ways to get where you want to go without having to actually drive.

But there’s a dark side to this convenience.  It’s called………..PLANNED WORK!!!!

Like it or not, maintaining an extensive train service underneath a giant city is really difficult.  Several of the subway lines, even ones that were added only a few weeks ago, require maintenance to ensure the trains don’t derail and crash.  This is a good thing, as it means that our taxes are going towards a well-maintained transport.  Still, it can ruin your commute if you suddenly realize your regular route has to change.

The planned Fulton Street Subway Station (AKA, the reason you can't go between Brooklyn and Manhattan on the weekends!)

Personally, I often have to go from my residence in Brooklyn to various areas in Manhattan.  This means I need to take the 2 and 3 trains from Clark St to wherever.  Occasionally I have to stop at Fulton St and transfer to another line.

Well, as luck would have it, they are currently building a huge transit hub at Fulton St!  The main goal of this is to connect more of New York, but until this is done, (which it won’t be for about a year), weekend trips between Brooklyn and Manhattan are a whole lot harder.

They usually limit most of their work to the weekends, since most people don’t work then.  For the last few weekends, 2, 3, A, and C service between the boroughs has been canceled.  This means I have to walk to Borough Hall (about 5 blocks from where I live) to leave Brooklyn!

Fortunately, the Metro Transit Authority is not so cruel as to not give us notice.  They usually post signs outside the stations notifying commuters of planned work.  They also usually post it on their website, so it’s a good idea to look there beforehand. In any case, you should find a subway map and look at all possible routes to make sure you know where you can go for alternative routes, and where you can transfer between stations.

Now, even with no planned work, there’s still the chance that you’ll be delayed.  A lot of trains share tracks, and often they have to slow down or even stop just so they have enough space between them and the other trains.  So my advice is to leave as early as possible, just so you have enough time in case of delays.

You could always take the bus. Still, going through Manhattan might be a little tough right now because of a few events.

Yeah, you should probably stick to the subway.

There’s no getting around it; you WILL encounter some planned work.  Sometimes it means you’ll be late for work, or school, or some other important event.  This is why it’s so important to plan ahead if you’re going through the city.  After all, the transit system can only do so much!

Sergio Lopez, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, Graduate Student ’12

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