You say tomato …

You say ‘toe-may-toe’, and I say ‘toe-mah-toe’. You say ‘Poe-tay-toe’, and I say ‘poe-tah-to’.

‘Trousers’ are Pants’. Holidays are ‘Vacations’. Pavements are ‘Sidewalks’. Flats are ‘Apartments’. ‘Fucking awful drivers’ are ‘Drivers’.

And, apparently, ‘On Time’ is ‘Five minutes late’.

I noticed this one morning and stood chuckling to myself, probably getting some side-eye from the ever-wary commuters. I had been noticing that not one single train on the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) that I’d caught had been on time. Now in fairness I should say that, since this time, my morning trains have been pretty good at showing up on time. One even came a minute early. However at this time, I was a bit baffled as to why my morning trains were late to arrive and – even more-so – my evening trains were late to leave. Given that Penn Station is the first station, I really couldn’t see an excuse.

It’s only when I heard the announcement “The 8:14 train to Penn Station is On Time” at 08:17 that I realized that, for the New York MTA, “On Time” comes with a margin of error. Now considering that my journey takes me about 25 minutes, their margin of error is a full one fifth of my journey.

This entire post is just me having a dig, because on the whole I’m really pleased with the LIRR service. $226 a month gets me an unlimited service on what have been – so far – very reliable, fairly comfy, not-too-crowded trains. I just feel that maybe the MTA should be a little more honest with themselves – and with passengers – and lose the cavernous margin of error on their timings, and perhaps take a look at why they needed to even do that in the first place.

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