A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Double Blunder on NJT Train

I committed an unforgivable sin this morning on the train. I had the nerve to momentarily misplace my monthly train pass while wearing my iPod earphones. Outrageous! I fumbled around for a while before finding it in a jacket pocket. Inconceivable! I got the official roll of the eyes from the dramatically annoyed conductor. I guess I got a little confrontational at that point. Peaceable but pointed.

After that exchange and the conductor had moved along, my neighbor tapped me on the shoulder to say that the same conductor had treated him similarly last week for not producing his ticket fast enough. The man chuckled and said he was just glad the conductors aren't allowed to wear guns.

Last week, a conductor was walking down the aisle slapping iPod wearers on the shoulder as a preliminary to ticket collection. I get the sense they've had it with people not paying attention to their ticket puncher noises and little shouts of "All tickets out!" I can sort of understand their frustration. But then again I think they get paid more than enough to be a bit inconvenienced by their riding public. I'm certainly inconvenienced by NJT more than my fair share of the time. Squeezed on trains like a sardine and poor customer service, yet the fare remains the same or goes up.

I was standing the other day on my way home from the city. I had missed the rush, yet there still weren't enough seats even on an evening train. (I was just glad not to be mashed into the car face on face like most rides in the morning rush.) There were no conductors to announce the train's destinations at the bottom of the PATH ramp, as usual, so I jumped on the train and hoped it was mine. I searched for clues. When the train left the station, the only announcement was that the conductor at the back of the train had been assigned something like ten cars to collect tickets in. Needless to say there were no announcements about where that train was heading. Like a ghost ship, the train pulled into and out of the Newark Airport stop without an announcement of any sort. I was near the open door of the train and heard a guy by the escalators commenting on the fact that none of the tourists knew to get off the train. He turned and shouted to some of the confused folks he could see, making his own mini-announcement on behalf of NJT, directing them to get off and identifying the stop as the airport. Having done what he could, he shook his head in disgust and grabbed his bag, heading for his own flight.

So this is the sad state of customer service on New Jersey Transit trains lately.


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