Ridiculously Happy About Commuting
Posted July 1, 2008on:
I know I’ve been a complete slacker here on this blog … posting only cakes and little else these days. I keep meaning to post restaurant reviews, updates on the bakery space hunt (I just might have one!) and a slew of other stuff, but I’ve been so super busy that blogging tends to get placed at the bottom of the to-do list which amazingly I never seem to get to!
But this … this was just too good NOT to post.
For anyone that commutes to work on public transportation, I’m sure you will relate to this post.
This past weekend, I checked the mail and saw that we had received another quarterly newsletter from the town. I usually scan through it before I pin it to the fridge to keep for the recycling calendar, and I am sooooo glad that I did. On the first page … I saw … “North End Shuttle Service to Bloomfield train station is now available.” OMG. When I showed Jay the article – you would have thought that I just told him we won the lottery. His scream of joy was deafening. Before I could even finish reading the article he was emailing the email listed for a schedule. And yesterday, around noon, the schedule was emailed to him — it was actually real.
Now, for those of you who don’t know us, or know little about our commute … I suppose I should explain why this jitney service is like a godsend. We were actually seriously considering moving to a town where we could ride the train instead of a bus everyday. Move just to take the train? Oh yes. You’ll understand why. Just keep reading.
Initially, when I first moved out to NJ, we were living in Weehawken and we had the option of taking a gypsy bus (at your own risk), where the drivers spoke no English, drove like they were escaping Immigration officers, put in “ghetto” seats (aka stepstools) in the aisles and on the stairs (completely illegal), and posted signs like “No Penis Please” (when they meant “No Pennies Please”). There was also the somewhat nicer, safer option of the NJ Transit buses, which we opted to take more often than not. It’s amazing, the difference shocks can make – even in a half hour commute.
When we finally bought a house and moved out to the suburbs, we were nervous about how much longer our commute in would take and were up at the crack of dawn to catch the bus. At first, we felt like we had reached commuter heaven, as our new busline, DeCamp, had far nicer buses than the NJ Transit line or the gypsy buses we used to take. It didn’t take long for our initial impression to fade … fast. There are so many reasons why, I think it’s best if I just list them out:
-DeCamp is a private bus line, so they don’t have any bus shelters at the stops. Waiting up to 1.5 hours in the sweltering heat, pouring rain, or freezing cold without shelter … rots. Also, because they are a private line, they don’t have to report their on-time arrivals or departures.
-Schedule? What schedule?
-Train problems on the Montclair line? Don’t even dream about getting a seat – especially at our stop (one of the last on the line into NYC).
-You actually expect a seat for your $6 at rush hour? I often wonder if the DeCamp drivers have a deal with the chiropractors and massage therapists in town … because lord knows you’ll need em if you stand on a ride into NYC.
-Buses that blow right by the stop … filled … without even stopping to see if you wanted to stand.
-Port Authority. If you’ve ever had to wait on the 4th floor for any extended period of time packed in like cattle and breathing in exhaust, you won’t need any more of an explanation.
-Monthly DeCamp Tickets = $215 / Monthly NJ Transit Bus Pass = $135 (Shuttle is free)
-NO COFFEE. NO CELL PHONES. (Although the no cell phone thing was kind of nice … when you’re running late and need to call work or home it can be extremely frustrating.)
I’m sure there’s more I’m missing … but in short, those are the big offenders. The countless hours we’ve waited for these buses is just incredibly sad.
So now … we have our wonderful shuttle – right across the street from our old bus stop. Friendly shuttle driver, 15 minute ride to the train station with a CVS, Dunkin Donuts & a Dry Cleaner right next to the station and a reliable 40 minute train ride and short 15 minute walk to work. Still an hour and 10 minute commute for me – a straight 55 minute commute for Jay (he works right across the street from Penn Station) - but we’re not complaining a bit. We plan on sharing the news with all our fellow commuters & DeCamp haters in the area. Maybe DeCamp will get the hint as their ridership goes down …. ;p