Missed Connections… No, not on Craigslist

wigglesworth2m (photo courtesy of Arts for Transit)

Murphy’s Law of riding the subway in NYC: I’m on the R train heading into Manhattan and could shave six stations off my morning commute if I switch to the N express one stop from where I get on. But as we pull into the station, and I see the N train across the platform, I see it’s pulling away. This I just don’t understand.

*Supposedly* they have schedules on these trains, and if one train waits an extra 30 secs to let connecting trains’ passengers on it will throw them off schedule. But here’s a tip from a daily rider: we don’t care. Nobody knows what the schedules are. We get to our station when it is convenient for us and hope that the train we need is coming soon. Then we hope that our connecting train is in the station when the train we are on arrives there. So if a train has to wait an extra 30 seconds to connect passengers, isn’t that more important than keeping a phantom schedule? I know that it is rush hour and therefore important to stay “on schedule”, but at this time it’s even MORE important to get people on their connecting trains. The N train runs every 8-10 minutes at this time in Brooklyn (I just checked the official schedule) so it makes no sense for me to wait for the next N to maybe take 10 mind off my commute. By then I just have to suck it up and ride the R local all the way into Manhattan.

Clearly, someone is getting paid based on how well the trains keep to the timetable. Rule #1 in business is to satisfy the customer. Shouldn’t the MTA abide by that rule too?

To compound Murphy’s Law, doesn’t it always seem that when you DON’T need to switch is when the train you’re on does sit in the station and wait for a connecting train?

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