WTF NJT?


 I swear the story I am about to tell is true.  You may think it is not.  It is.  It may seem impossible, unbelievable.  It happened.  I swear.  You ready?

Although it is early May, it's pretty hot out.  It's air conditioner weather in NJ and very humid.  (Don't worry...this will all turn around by tomorrow and by the weekend it will barely be in the 60s.  Let's talk climate change, shall we?).  This particular morning was very humid and when I got up rain was in the near future.  (So much for doing anything with your hair today.)

Since it is going to hit the upper 80s, I decided that it would be good to wear summer type clothing.  For me that meant a sleeveless top and long(ish) gauze like skirt with sandals. (Some might call them flip flops, but when you spend over $20 on a pair of these things, they are NOT flip flops.)  I also threw on a very light flowing sweater for two reasons:  I needed pockets (why do women's clothing so rarely have pockets?  I know I've ranted about this before!) and it gets a little chilly in the office sometimes.

I went off to meet the 6:48 bus this morning.  I had an umbrella with me because the weather app was telling me rain was imminent.  Despite the NJ Transit app saying that the bus was delayed, it still arrived on time and moved pretty quickly down the road, getting to the city light rail stop in about 20 minutes.  (It takes double the time going in the reverse direction in the afternoon.)

I didn't run down the stairs to the city light rail because I'd rather wait for the next train than fall and hurt myself.  (Hey, I'm an old lady.)  Plus I was wearing sandals.  Nonetheless, when I got to the bottom, I could see a train had pulled in and I rushed to get on.

So did everyone else.  There were a lot of people waiting for the train.  (Which is why I probably made it.)  It was already standing room only (at the 5th stop on the line) with 7 stops to go.  The ride took longer than usual as more and more people crammed themselves in at each stop.  No one (or almost no one, I think I saw one person trying to get off at the next to last stop) was getting off until we reached the end of the line:  Newark Penn Station.

Usually when we pull into the station the doors on both sides of the car open up.  Easier to get people out and there are escalators on either side to take you up.  Today only one side opened.

Since we were so packed in, it took me a while to get off the train.  When I did and turned to the escalator, it was blocked off and not running.  There was no other visible way to get up to the main level.  (At least not that I could tell nor could anyone else.)  So what were people doing?  Exactly what you have been told a BILLION times NOT to do and what is definitely NOT safe:  jumping down on the tracks and crossing over to the other side platform where there was an escalator that was working.  Again, the doors did NOT open to that side (where the working escalator was) and the only way that I could see to get there was to cross the tracks.

So there I am.  Standing there like an idiot watching everyone jump down on the tracks and climb back up onto the other side's platform.  By this time the train is long gone and there is no incoming train that anyone can see.  What am I going to do?

The only option that seemed to be available to me and everyone else.  I took off my backpack and put it down.  I knelt down on the floor and lowered myself to the tracks.  I grabbed my pack and unsteadily made my way across them.  (Again, I am an older person and I was not wearing suitable shoes to cross the train tracks.  Which leads me to the question ARE there suitable shoes for crossing train tracks?  Should I be Googling "appropriate foot attire for crossing subway tracks?"  What stores sell them and how much do they cost?)  When I got to the other side, I was going to turn around and sit, pulling myself up.  (I'm also short, so getting my legs up to the platform, as well as down, was a challenge...especially in a long skirt.)  However a very nice (younger) lady offered me her hand and I took it.  (See, human kindness does still exist in this world!)  I hoisted myself up, thanked her and then made my way to the escalator.

Now I know I was not the only person who must have had an issue getting across the tracks.   I am not the only old(er) woman.  I am not the only woman in footwear inconducive to crossing the train tracks (or even hiking around the station).  There were also people with strollers. (How the heck the person got across I don't know.)

Obviously, something was VERY wrong on the light rail this morning.  Every station had tons of people waiting.  And when we arrived there were tons of people waiting to get the train in the other direction.  (Which is rare.)  So there must have been an issue.  I get that.  But that doesn't explain why the escalator was blocked off and why the train did not let passengers off in a safe location.

So all I can say this hot, rainy morning is WTF?  NJ Transit you need to get your act together.  Because this old lady is not crossing the tracks again.  (NOTE:  NO ONE should EVER cross ANY train track.  It is NOT safe.  DON'T DO IT!)


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