Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I Have Solved My Metro-North Seating Issues

Metro North, originally uploaded by matt.hintsa.

Riding the Metro-North into Connecticut is, generally speaking, an unpleasant experience. The trains are over 30 years old. They're always either too hot or too cold. Fares are high. The bar car is not always open.

I was recently sitting in the three-seat bench with another guy during rush hour out of Grand Central. Since the other gentleman and I did not know each other, we left the middle seat open in order to offer some personal space. Not one minute before the train left did a 400-pound man (I am not exagerrating) squeeze himself into that middle seat, thus squashing me against the window for 45 minutes.

Sitting next to strangers, and often times people who don't understand the concept of personal space, is an occupational hazard of riding the Metro-North. But...after years of complaining about it, I found a solution.

A few years ago the Metro-North, in a rare example of trying to modernize their trains, installed pay phones in a few of the cars, right by the doors. The phones were actually pretty good, but became obsolete when cell phones came into vogue.

Metro-North took out all all the phones, but left the single seats that were next to them. These single chairs are what I call the Jump Seats, and are my solution to sitting next to grumpy, middle aged men who smell from a long day at the office.

There are only about four Jump Seats on any given train, but they do exist. There is enough room around them to put your bags and your legs. Even better, you don't have to pretend to be asleep or drunk in order to dissuade someone from sitting near you. No one can! You're in the Jump Seat! You can read your book in peace.

You can thanks me later.

Question: Can someone please tell me why no less than 500 people always seem to get on at Fordham? Considering how many people there are, wouldn't it make sense to run more trains through that station?