mlk light rail shuttle bus.

The MLK to LSP light rail shuttle bus is a disgraceful garbage fire. This is the MLK light rail shuttle bus specifically. The Garfield Ave and West Side Ave shuttle buses appear to operate efficiently and without issues.

You may or may not know that these 3 light rail stops are closed until AT LEAST March 2020 so the city can perform sewer repairs.

This is a Jersey City-specific problem but I do believe the broader themes of this problem are far reaching and dare I say…systemic.

The other day I was waiting for a connecting train at Liberty State Park for THIRTY MINUTES because the MLK light rail shuttle bus that is ALLEGEDLY SCHEDULED to coincide with the departure of the light rail train from LSP WAS LATE GETTING TO LSP. This isn’t a one time thing. Or even a sometimes thing. This is an always and every time thing.

During this wait, I had enough time to set up my tripod and position my phone, re-apply lip gloss, smooth my hair with Amika Velveteen Dream Smoothing Balm ( I don’t work for them but details are important in personal essays so there ya go) and then take a number of photos of myself in various poses. When I was done I had time to break down the tripod and get everything put away and I still had five more minutes to wait for the train.

I will now show you some lewks from that day interspersed among MLK light rail shuttle bus related rage. Come for the lewks, stay for the rage. Come for the rage, stay for the lewks? Either way.

Miraculously somehow the Garfield Ave and West Side Ave shuttle buses are more often than not on time and also timed with the arrivals and departures of the HBLR trains. The MLK shuttle bus has never once achieved this feat in the last 5 or so months that I have been forced to endure its particular brand of bullshit.

The two other shuttle buses also have competent and capable drivers that don’t sometimes take naps or disappear to smoke cigarettes and cause the bus to leave 10 minutes late, they have a set place of stopping and loading the bus, and they have passengers that respect the structure of a line and the system of queueing to wait to get onto a vehicle, and also wait for the passengers on said vehicle to get off before they storm onto said vehicle with complete disregard for humanity.

Our MLK shuttle bus is dirty, old, smells bad, and is often littered with cigarette butts, empty liquor bottles, and discarded beer cans wrapped in ripped paper bags. Passengers scream into their cell phones or play music out loud without headphones or somehow do both of those things at the same time even though I don’t know how that’s even physically or electronically possible.

It is a lawless land and it must be policed by someone. I don’t mean like, “The Police” but I do mean the NJTransit workers/representatives that are 100% more helpful at any other stop than they are at the intersection of MLK Dr. and Virginia Ave. Where they stand and zone out and smoke cigarettes.

Because the bus and therefore the passengers are held to a much lower standard than the other two buses and groups of passengers, in turn the people that ride the bus feel free and even empowered to act shitty because why wouldn’t they? No one makes an effort to do better or to lead by example because why bother? We already have the shitty bus so let’s just act shitty because at this point we honestly have been made to feel like we don’t deserve better and it’s every person watching out for themselves to simply survive another 15 minute jaunt on this hell machine.

The MLK shuttle bus is broken windows theory in action (disorder propagates more disorder) (just had to Shansplain that real quick). No one cares about the people on the MLK light rail shuttle bus so in turn the people that are forced to use this bus don’t care about themselves or their neighbors and pretty much just give up on social niceties. But I care about us and I’m here to say we won’t stand for it.

NJ Transit gives the MLK stop a shitty bus because the MLK stop is in a shitty area. We get it. But that does NOT make it okay. Just because our stop is in a shitty area doesn’t mean we don’t deserve the same exact shuttle bus as the other stops. Because we do. It takes years of work to make an entire area less shitty, OR oceans of money to make an actual built into the ground light rail stop less shitty.

But do you know what takes the same amount of work and requires no additional level of effort or urban planning skills? GIVING THE SAME STANDARD OF SHUTTLE BUS TO EACH AND EVERY STOP THAT YOU ARE INCONVENIENCING WITH YOUR SEWER MAKEOVER. You’re already ordering and staffing and coordinating and paying for the shuttle buses. Don’t shit all over our neighborhood by giving us shuttle buses that are clearly deficient and clearly held to an immensely lower standard than the shuttle buses of the other two stops. It’s ridiculous and it’s wrong.

NJTransit will say it’s the city that is doing this work. Okay fine, it is. But someone is coordinating this bus bullshit and someone is blowing it big time for the folks that live at the MLK stop.

Every time I get off the train at LSP on my way home there are Westside Ave and Garfield Ave shuttle buses waiting, warm and welcoming. Again, timed with the arrival of the train. Never once has there been an MLK bus waiting. Often the Garfield and Westside buses leave, ANOTHER bus of each arrives, and the MLK bus doesn’t come chugging down the road until after these additional two.

The MLK light rail shuttle bus is consumed by such an erratic and unpredictable existence that it doesn’t even know where to stop to load and unload passengers and no one offers any guidance, even those with the power or insight to do so, because they don’t care. Passengers waiting for this bus, my neighbors and I, are left to scramble back and forth and bob and weave around each other on the sidewalk to try to figure out where the bus is going to stop and where we should be gathering and standing in line to get on.

Once the bus finds a place to rest, no one waits in line and it’s a huge mob to get on to the bus. And the people getting off of the bus are visibly outraged. But then somehow those same people also crowd the entrance of the bus when they’re getting on. I don’t understand this absolute aversion to lines because I personally thrive on some level of social order and respect for personal space but I can only assume it becomes a lawless land because no one cares enough to stop it or to lead by example and it just crumbles into anarchy.

The whole point of this is…let’s do better. We need to. We have to deal with this piece of shit shuttle bus until at least March. NJTransit, Jersey City, whoever the heck is in charge of this fiasco, pay attention to us! Care about the MLK light rail shuttle bus! We are suffering! We are struggling! Help us be better! Seriously though, give us the same level of shuttle bus as the other stops. That doesn’t really seem that hard to do.

Passengers of the MLK light rail shuttle bus, my neighbors, we also have to do better. Set an example! At the very least clean up your garbage. It’s disgusting. Why are you doing this to yourselves and the rest of us? I don’t get it.

I’ll end by saying that I have investigated the rides on the other stops’ shuttle buses and I’m not making this up. Their buses are cleaner, newer, and quieter. Their passengers feel obligated to wait in line and show consideration for their neighbors. Again I implore you to think of broken windows theory when thinking about the MLK light rail shuttle bus. Because the disorder will only increase exponentially if we don’t stop it.

Ugh. The end.

Lewk notes.

Rabbit Fur Coat, Retrospect Vintage, similar here. Dress, Free People, similar here. Hair clips, H&M, similar here. Leggings, Target, similar here. Necklace, Alex and Ani, similar here (maybe not SO similar but I searched “Tree Necklace” and found this and it’s adorable). Green purse, ZAC Zac Posen, similar here. Boots, my friend Alli got me these in Nashville like 10 years ago so there really is nothing similar because they are irreplaceable sorry byeeee.