Rain, sleet, uh oh, snow. You will not believe what I read on the bus tonight. Specifically the Q46 bus in Queens, although I’m sure the notices are on all MTA buses. No one reads these. If you’re in the right spot, at the right time, you might see that there is a notice. It might be six years old. It might be current. If you want to read it you’ll be leaning over someone who doubtless won’t appreciate the attention.
My phone’s camera is insufficient for photos of paper in moving buses at night, so I went to the MTA’s web site to grab another form of this notice, which is nowhere near as effective as the paper one I saw on the Q46, the one with the bus information outlined in magic marker.
I have been riding city buses since 1967. That’s when I started at Robert H. Goddard Junior High School 202 in Ozone Park, Queens. I took the Q41 bus to get there from my home. For years I took the Q41, the Q11, and/or the Q54 (along Metropolitan Avenue) to get to school. Come rain or snow or sleet or whatever else. We had blizzards back then, too.
I have been riding NYC subways since around 1970, when I made friends in high school who didn’t live in my neighborhood but rather rode the M train, the L (then the “double-L”) train, and took the Q55 along Myrtle Avenue. Then there was the A train to college every day, and there’s a Q39 in memory, too. That was the bus I followed — once I learned to drive — along its winding route through Ridgewood and Maspeth and wherever else to get to the 59th Street Bridge and (then a precious secret) the multi-level parking garage. This was so my friends and I could park, then walk over the bridge to get to Manhattan to get to work during the big MTA transit strike in … 1980? Was that it? You remember, when women started wearing sneakers and socks over their nylons, carrying their pumps in their shoulder bags.
Anyway, suffice to say I have been riding – and have been a fervent advocate of – public transportation for over 40 years. All of a sudden, public transportation can’t handle snow. All of a sudden, if it snows? You’d better bring your yardstick. All of a sudden, the A, E, F, G, etc . (see notice) trains may not run properly, may skip stops, if it snows. BUSES — the magic-marker highlighted section of the poster on my bus tonight implies all caps — BUSES may not function at all if it snows more than 5”. This would mean, of course, that the snowplows aren’t doing their jobs, or why on earth would suddenly buses not be able to function?
Don’t believe me? This is the link: http://mta.info/service/ColdWeather.htm
Does Mayor Bloomberg want us all to drive our own cars around the five boroughs? Into Manhattan? In the snow? Instead of professional drivers? Instead of taking public transportation, which apparently is no longer able to function in the Mid-Atlantic region, despite the fact that it has functioned for half a century that I know of, and a good deal longer before?
Manhattan Island has the smallest land mass of the five boroughs. This is about Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and – goddess help them – Staten Island. We need public transportation. We are so totally screwed.
I read the other day that someone caught MTA bus drivers playing chess. I always knew they were doing something, since it is not a variable that on any given morning, during rush, three buses will arrive at the same bus stop at the same time (which is contrary to the published schedule), and riders will have to wait 20, 25, 30 minutes for another. And then that bus will be so crowded they have to wait for yet one more. Apparently the drivers are playing chess. Today’s notices make me wonder if the MTA put out this news blast so we would blame the unions. Hmm? Or is it solely the MTA’s responsibility to transport (Metropolitan Transit Authority, in case you’ve forgotten the meaning of the acronym) the tax-paying and fare-paying citizens of all five boroughs to work, to home, to hospitals, to school, to life, even if it snows?
May we remind the MTA that children get snow days. Working adults do not.
I ask you.
~ Grumpy Molly Matera, signing off. Mouthing off. Whatever. Too annoyed to be clever.