December 20th, 2005 by Conductor
12/20/05 – So I go on a nice relaxing vacation, come back, and what awaits me? A transit strike. JOY.
I got up at 5:30am today. My shift is 10am-6pm.
It’s widely acknowledged that I’m an anti-morning person.
If I see 5:30am normally, it’d better be because I haven’t gone to bed yet.
Because of the tightwad, greedy sh!tbags running the transit union, I was up at 5:30am, to confirm that they’d actually gone on strike. Once I confirmed that my initial carpool didn’t have enough people, I planned out my options.
I could wait until 11am and cruise in solo, getting to work at about noon, then stay until 8pm. Not a great option, since it would cost more to park, but I’d avoid the madness going on out there.
I could go to one of the park and ride locations and see if I could find 3 people who worked within a few blocks of Radio City, weren’t creepy, smelly, or smokers. Doable, but not my favorite plan.
I actually set out to try the second option, figuring at worst I’d strike out, head down to the battery tunnel, then wait until 10:59am and go through. After the first park & ride was completely empty, I headed towards the 2nd and realized I was a couple blocks from the pickup point of the bus my job had arranged for, but which I’d not been able to sign up for having been on vacation last week. So I decided to swing by to see if 3 of the 24 people slated to be waiting there wanted to ride in. I figured worst case is they’re not there and I head to the 2nd park & ride. By now it’s about 7:30am, and the bus was scheduled for 7:40.
As I mentioned earlier, I poached 3 people, took the road less traveled to the Battery tunnel, breezed through, and got from battery park to 52nd and Broadway in about 10, maybe 15 minutes. The ladies that rode with me gave me $5 each for parking/gas, which suited me fine since parking is $17, and I was going to get gas today anyway. So we got to work at 8:30am. The funny bit is I got there 20 minutes before the two people I was originally going to drive with, who had to take the LIRR in and walk up to 51st & 6th Ave from Penn station. 😀
Getting home this evening was fairly smooth since I took the West Side Highway, but the traffic around the garage added probably 20 minutes to the trip. I left at about 5:10 pm and got home about 7pm, which is when I normally get home if I leave at 6pm. I was listening to the all news station on the way, and I don’t know if a friend who works downtown but lives in Long Island has gotten home yet, given the sea of people at Penn Station waiting 5 blocks deep just to get into the station, whose main entrances had been closed for crowd control inside the station. The east side of Manhattan was/is a massive standstill, with a 90 minute delay at the midtown tunnel inbound. I emailed a coworker that left after I did to warn her about Penn and she replied that she had to duck under a roped off area to make her train, and that it was in fact, a madhouse. Moments after I read her reply (at a red light of course) the transit report came on and the reporter said Penn Station was… yeah, you guessed it, a madhouse. After that I just switched to a CD, and made my way home. The ladies I rode in with took the bus home, since it was waiting outside the job – no standing out in the cold.
Tomorrow, the plan is for me to pick up the same trio near the bus stop and we’ll cruise in again at 7:45am. I suspect traffic will be worse tomorrow, but we should get to work between 8:30 and 9am.
As for the $1million per day fine levied against the union? Good. I’d be happy if it were higher. As for the penalties that will be imposed on Transit workers (docked 2 days pay for each day they’re on strike), good. Their strike is illegal under NY State law, they knew it, and did it anyway. Furthermore, their demands are excessive, unrealistic, and would give then better benefits than nearly all their customers, and salaries that quite honestly piss off every single person I’ve encountered today. (Starting salary of $52,000) Reagan’s handling of the ATC strike came up more than once today, and I can’t say I’d mind if something similar happened now. They gave lousy service already, and now want less disciplinary action, more money, and free benefits. To hell with them. The police, firefighters and the military don’t get that, and they risk their lives every single day.