More Notes on the trip
I hadn’t been to Penn Station NY in a while and I’m glad to see New Jersey Transit put up seating along the back wall on the upper part of their concourse opposite the 7th Avenue exit. It used to be a mess with people standing and sitting on the floor there. Restrooms are still really small, but nothing much they can do there.
They did put in new electronic train boards screens, but the process is still a huge cluster. They don’t announce train assignments until like 5 minutes before departure and huge crowds still form to go down really narrow escalators. I think it still has something to do with slots for trains returning from Sunnyside Yard, but it’s still a mess.
My system worked perfectly.
- If I’m taking the 1 (or 2 or 3) when I get to New York, I try to ride in the head of the train on the way there. If I’m taking the A, C, or E, I ride in the rear. Train pulled in, I was right near the up escalator.
- On the way back from New York, I always use the furthest west escalator or stairway. If taking New Jersey Transit, I never, EVER try to board from their concourse. Most people are doing the same (see above). Fewer people board NJ Transit trains from the Amtrak concourse (I wonder when I see obvious tourists if they’re even aware that it’s possible to do so). Much easier to grab a seat.
Taking the 1 instead of the N or R at 42nd Street meant a longer walk to the workshop from the Subway along 28th Street, but that walk underneath 42nd Street station is no fun. It’s always very hot down there and the elevation changes a lot. It wouldn’t be so bad if I were used to it, but since I’m not, no thanks.
On the way back, I got pushed into the uptown 1 train but the person who pushed me in wasn’t ready for the wave of people getting off at 34th Street. She dropped something, was searching for it on the floor and everything broke down. Not a pleasant moment. Hopefully she had things together by the time the train got to 42nd Street.
The boards showing upcoming 1/2/3 departures are a great touch. When I got to the fare area, the downtown 1 was 2 minutes away. I knew how long I had to get my single trip and get upstairs.
NYC Subway needs a card like Washington Metro’s SmarTrip card. Touching a card to a reader is much easier than swiping. For that matter, both systems need an app for fares. NJ Transit has one that’s really good. Buy the ticket, show the ticket to the conductor when he or she comes by, and that’s it (a QR code for their faregates at stations like Secaucus is part of the ticket). You can even pay with PayPal
Amtrak could use that too, if they’re going to be scanning tickets at boarding. Let me just hold my phone out instead of needing an extra piece of paper.