Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Long Island Rail Road, Queen Of Suck

The Bloody Long Island Railroad outdid itself today, achieving such levels of incompetence and suckage it fair took one's breath away.

They had announced that the schedule was changing again the week before in the standard way of dropping leaflets on every third seat where they would be sat on or swept to the floor unread, and over the PA systems on the trains which work in every third car. On those rare trains where the PA system is working in every car, the Bloody Long Island Railroad employs conductors whose microphone technique can best be summed up as "Whisperin' Rod McKuen".

So I arrived at the scale model of the Sea of Tranquility provided by the Bloody Long Island Railroad at Wyandanch1 as a replacement for the standard, boring commuter carparks found at other stations in time to her the horn of my approaching train. The recent week-long deluge coupled with the installation of temporary fences across the shortest route between the parking facilities and the station by gittish construction crews has added a new soup-spoon of misery to the process of walking between the station and one's car over the broken no-man's land of the carpark via the lake the road becomes thanks to the wonder of Turret Drains2 so I resigned myself to my safety train and went to get a breakfast sandwich.

My 9:33 am safety train had, naturally, been rescheduled to 10:02 am for my convenience, meaning I was going to be very late indeed. I wasn't the only one standing on the platform looking around in bewilderment at 9:40 am, but I was the first to spot the actual time a train would arrive5 on the spiffy electronic notice boards which, for once, were working. I passed the word to people who were either disbelieving or, assuming that I had personally ordered the trains to be late, rude. I was wondering when I would be making my connection and by extension when I would actually arrive at work.

An announcer came on the PA to suggest we look up the timetable on the spiffy MTA.LIRR.INFO website. This usually links to a map that can be tapped to deliver a timetable in pdf form which can almost be read on a phone. I followed the instructions, but the Wyandanch links just 404ed with a splash page saying the page I wanted was not found because the schedules had been changed. A typical piece of uselessness by the Bloody Long Island Railroad and indicative of the proactive suck they bring to bear on any issue6

The station has been boarded up, contrary to the Wyandanch Station info pages that show a picture of a beautiful rural station house that must have melted the computer it was photoshopped on. It is now a big plywood box with a roof. So no commuter-retrievable schedules inside.

Luckily there is a full schedule on the wall in a display case.

I had been studying the timetable for perhaps two full minutes before it dawned on me that there was something not right about the information. A quick double check showed that, yes, I was looking at the old timetable, the one that had been replaced. So no information on trains available in any way, shape or form from the Bloody Long Island Railroad. Perfect.

At 10:08, a full six minutes late and well after the time the automated botvoice should have been kicking in to tell us the train wasn't here8

And people wonder why I never arrive at work smiling any more.

  1. Pearl of the East
  2. Turret Drains look like regular drains3 but are placed on a three-to six-inch platform so that water cannot enter them and make them dirty, allowing deep scenic lakes of water to form around them
  3. Which is to say 50% of them are installed uphill as per standard practice in Wyandanch4
  4. Pearl of the East
  5. ha ha
  6. no problem is so bad the Bloody Long Island Railroad cannot make it infinitely worse7.
  7. by successive, recursive ensuckages if necessary
  8. The Bloody Long Island Railroad don't believe in giving commuters information they can't already have figured out for themselves, like how much longer the wait will be, confining themselves to unhelpful statements of things you already knew or gleeful blaming of Amtrak whenever possible for whatever problem is underway. The train was literally about six inches from my face and slowing to a halt as the botvoice claimed (incorrectly) that "the 10:02 train to Penn Station is operating seven minutes late".