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20 Transit Strike

What if the mass transportation went kaput?

Waking up at 3AM to find that the TWU (Transit Workers Union) went on strike was quite a way to start a day. Probably quite a long, long way. There are more than ten million people in New York City alone and around seven million who commute by public transportation - trains, buses and ferry. So when two of them decided to go on strike, what could happen?

As early as the crack of dawn, people started lining up at the thankfully-still-running LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) stations. Not to find seats on the train or get into work early, but to find hundreds and hundreds of people in line just to get train tickets. When the ticket was in hand, they were yet faced by another beeline to the appointed platforms. Then, another wait for the train to come. The frequency of LIRR train is not as high as the public MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) subway.

At the destination in Manhattan, Penn Station, there were millions of people swarming the lower and upper levels just to try finding the exit way to the street level. The whole situation also created tension between the public and police - arguments were quite inevitable.

And you think that was it? No... there were still blocks of streets and avenues to walk up to work. People were scattered everywhere, walking, biking, rollerblading just to get to their destinations. There were lines at fastfood restaurants, delis, food stores for everyone to grab brakfasts. Then later in the afternoon, lunches. Not to mention tourists who basically had to stay put within the city.

Again, that was not it. How about working your way back home? Traffic in Manhattan was bumper to bumper. People cut lines. They drove like maniacs. It took half-an-hour just to get half a block. It literally took two hours within the radius of ten blocks just to get out of Manhattan to get to other boroughs.

We are unsure of the duration of the strike. However, looking back, having experienced the terrorist attack in 2001, the blackout in 2003 and now the strike in 2005, this is just another day in New York City. New Yorkers are known as survivors who work their ways out of any situation. Although I must say it was pretty damn hard to walk miles in a windchill of nine degree Farenheit weather today.