Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It's Not Just Me Then

A story reported in The Register today relates the following tale:

Argentinian commuters have expressed dissatisfaction at their country's privatised rail services, by last night indulging in "arson, looting and fighting" following rush-hour delays at Buenos Aires's Constitu├žion station.

By jove, these Argentinian chaps seem to have come up with a response to poor service that might even give the nitwits in charge of the Long Island Rail Road pause for thought. The story goes on to reveal the following detail:

Train operator spokesman Fernando Jantus explained that the service was interrupted "because a train broke down just outside the station, preventing other trains from leaving". He correctly observed: "The problem happened at the worst moment."

The parallels are eerie. Only last night, just after I had confirmed to Mrs Stevie that I would indeed be home at my usual time, my train ground to a halt that lasted 30 minutes making a liar out of me. The explanation given was that a car had hit the grade crossing barriers and the debris had to be dragged clear.

I wonder if we would have so much trouble with our commute if every delay was greeted with the debarkation of the passengers followed by an extended campaign of Hunnish looting and infrastructure incineration? Would Mineola be such a black spot of delays and time wastage if the next train to be stopped there caused part of the town to be razed by infuriated Wall Street analysts and IT personnel? Would Amtrack blithely stall their trains in front of an incoming LIRR peak hour express if it meant they would be commandeered and wrecked by Visigothic accountants? I think not. What a pity that most New Yorkers, for all their "in yer face" bravado, don't have the Latin temperament.

It's difficult to assign blame for last night's fiasco to the LIRR rather than the idiot who couldn't keep his bloody car aimed in the right direction for the twenty feet or so needed to get back to the blacktop, but I'm trying hard.

They are always culpable in some way.

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