Here's a story of one man's journey when a situation unexpectedly blocks a main artery of New York City's public transportation system.
I quietly sat on a local 7 train enjoying a breakfast sandwich about to lose myself in today's edition of Metro. The express 7 train line had recently gone under construction and knowing when they run is always guesswork. Today, there would be no express trains. Since I had woken up early in expectation of these delays, I wasn't worried; I would still make it on time to work taking the local train. Read more [+/-]
As I was finishing my sandwich, a beep came from the loudspeakers then a voice overlay with static, "Due to an emergency situation at 40th street, there is no Manhattan-bound 7 train service from Main St."
Reading my thoughts, the voice repeated, "There is NO Manhattan-bound 7 train service from Main St."
I was in disbelief. I looked up from my paper and saw that other riders shared the same feelings. "You have got to be kidding me", I thought. "This is the only train to and from Main St.!"
Without an alternative, hundreds, if not thousands, of commuters flooded back into the underground tunnels. I quickly gathered my bags and followed the masses. After fruitlessly trying to find someone for information, I decided the best solution was to take a bus to another subway line; the E and F was the closest.
As I boarded the bus that would eventually add an hour and a half to my commute, I watched as Roosevelt Ave and Main St. fill with early morning commuters - confusion, disorientation, and frustration on their faces. Many were on cell phones, probably calling in late for work. Or, maybe because half of the Main St. commuters don't speak English, they were calling someone who does trying to make sense of it all.
I watched their faces as the bus pulled away and wondered how many people would be affected by this; a thousand, maybe two. Each one with their own story. I wondered how I would tell mine.
Now I wonder why wasn't there a quicker alternative.