The Roads Must Roll


Transit Strike! Transit Strike!

The whole city's public transportation system is shut down! It's chaos! It's the jungle! Car's are backed up bumper to bumper ON MY LITTLE SIDE STREET! To give you an idea, most people think Manhattan is all-traffic, all the time. Not so. Sure, it gets crazy in Midtown and Downtown, but here on the more residential Upper West Side and Morningside Heights it's pretty quiet most of the time. Not now! People aren't even obeying traffic lights anymore; it's like highway gridlock with everyone moving forward when they can, nudging in when someone lets them, etc.

For some reason, big momentous things happen every time I have an in-class final, so far. First big snowfall the day of my Civil Procedure final, transit strike for the Contracts final. What do Spring finals hold? Tsunami?

As for the workers, I don't know. It's a hassle that there's the strike, but I tend to support workers in these things. My understanding is that the dispute's over the retirement age to get a pension; the Union wants it to stay at 55, the MTA wants to raise it to 60. It sounds like they're agreed on every other point, but they've been bargaining till 2-3 AM every night for the last week over this last point. I can see why it's important to the workers. The city says it can't afford to keep paying pensions at the current rate. I'd really have to look into things more to have an informed opinion, though. I'm not really blaming either side for now.

But whee! I have to get to Newark airport for a 9 o'clock flight tomorrow! I've got a shuttle coming to pick me up at 6 AM; hopefully 3 hours is enough time to get there.


I would move your shuttle up - its at least an hour to get there normally...what airline are you on?

Continental. The trouble with the shuttles is that, if I'm the first one they pick up, they'll theoretically be criss-crossing the town getting other passengers. My plan is to go outside and scout the traffic around 5. If there's anything out there,I might cancel the suttle and take a taxi.

The problem, of course, is that, since I've already paid for the Shuttle, it is now effectively free. A taxi costs $60 plus fares to Newark. But still, that's a lot less than a new flight at the last minute.

Just be careful. I've heard that Taxi drivers are gouging - someone I knew ended up paying 100 dollars for a what was normally a 35 dollar (plus fare) cab ride to Newark.

You should be ok with continental, and its a Wednesday, so security shouldn't take too long to get through.

Oh, and have Continental's reservation phone number and your confirmation number, so if you don't think you'll make it, you can change your flights - which will be a fee, but less than a whole new flight.

Thanks. I think it'll be fine. But I don't know; apparently they've set up checkpoints to prevent anyone from driving below 96th street without at least 4 passengers. No word from the shuttle company yet; maybe I should send an e-mail asking how they're handling the situation.

I ended up taking your advice, Ted, and cancelled the shuttle. They were nice and gave me a full refund. I tried getting a taxi around 1 AM Tuesday night. My street gets lots of taxi traffic, and when I went outside there was literally an available taxi just turning onto the street as I walked out the door. I hailed him, but he wouldn't take me to Newark; it would take too long and he could make more money in less time driving people in Manhattan, with the increased fares.

Eventually, he agreed to take me to the Port Authority bus terminal, where I could get a NJ Transit bus to Newark Airport. It turns out that the Port Authority bus terminal is pretty much the place you least wants to be in Manhattan at 1 in the morning, particularly if you're hauling a backpack and luggage. It is, to be delicate, somewhat seedy.

I got to Newark airport fine, though, and it was cheaper than a direct cab would have been. I got to the airport around 2 AM, and just waited around 7 hours for my flight.

One interesting fact discovered while I waited: The expected high in New York yesterday was 33 degrees. The expected low in San Diego yesterday was 54 degree. That means San Diego's lowest temperature was over twenty degrees warmer than New York's highest.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on December 20, 2005 9:14 AM.

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