Monday, August 24

I thought it would be a longer delay

This summer’s SCA-free theme continued today, with the 7:04 from Ronkonkoma to Penn, which I got after arriving on the shuttle from Medford, being full of women and normal men.  Hardly a suit and tie to be seen.  It was actually quite crowded, at least in the mid-consist car where I rode.  A mid-/late-30’s woman took the seat next to me at Deer Park and spent most of the ride reading a trashy romance novel.  As I’ve noted before, in a way it’s amusing that such downscale “literature” appeals even to women who, given the cost and inconvenience of train commuting, most likely have well-paying, responsible jobs.  I did some reading myself, The Match by Mark Frost, and tried a couple games of Tetris without notable success.  There weren’t any delays into Penn, and I waited only a minute or so for a not-too-crowded 3 train to Fulton.

Getting home was rather less pleasant if not nearly as bad as it could have been.  To start with, I had a rather lengthy wait for a 3 train at Fulton, and when the train finally arrived it was hugely crowded.  To make matters worse, the air conditioning in the car where I was riding was barely functional.  Had it been less crowded I would have exited the car at Park Place or Chambers and moved to another one.  So severe was the crowding, however, that I feared I wouldn’t be able to board another car (which itself might not have functional AC), an issue because time was getting a bit tight.  So I endured an unpleasant ride to Penn, only to find that the 5:41 to Ronkonkoma was itself nearly at cattle train crowding levels.  There were few except middle seats available.  I finally found an aisle seat next to a woman of around 40, who unfortunately kept turning around (I don’t know why) and bumping into me in the process.  Just after we emerged from the tunnels, we came to a stop, and after a few minutes the conductor announced that there were “switch problems” ahead of us.  Avoiding the malfunctioning switch would require a reverse move back toward Penn so we could switch to a different track. In a reverse move, the lead conductor goes to the rearmost car and takes the controls located in that car (LIRR electric cars are in two-car sets with controls on opposite ends of each car in the set).  Reverse moves are rare but not unprecedented, unfortunately they tend to be quite time-consuming.  That didn’t happen today, with only about 15 minutes being lost, and as sometimes happens we made up about five minutes on that time en route and got to Ronkonkoma and the shuttle ten minutes late.

Gym: day off tonight.

Postscript to the ticket problem: after a long wait on hold I finally got to speak to an LIRR ticketing representative.  She wasn’t one of the top candidates for Miss Congeniality at the last Miss America pageant.  It turns out that the amount withheld from my pay for the Mail & Ride tickets had been about $20 too low each month for about a year and a half.  I’m not sure whether the LIRR or my work’s payroll department is responsible.  The LIRR finally caught onto this and applied the withholding that should have been applied to my September ticket to the shortfall.  This means I’ll have to shell out over $300 for September’s ticket. Ugh.  Granted, it really isn’t an overall financial loss, due to the 18 months of under-withholding, but it’s still annoying.  According to the phone rep at least, I could have discovered the shortfall earlier had I examined the statement which accompanies each month’s ticket in the mail – something I never actually did. I’ll have to speak to the payroll people about increasing the withholding, and you can be sure that from now on I’ll check each statement very carefully.

Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 4:12 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Aren’t you basically at $300 anyway? The LIRR website shows a monthly ticket to Ronkonkoma/Medford at $299.88 if you use the webticket option, more than $300 if you don’t.

    Thank goodness you don’t have to pay for parking like many people west of the Hudson do.

  2. I pay more than $300 because my ticket includes a subway Metro Card. You’re so right about the station parking. There are stories about people in some towns who check the obituaries each day to see if (expensive) parking permits will become available.

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