Unreasonably Immoderate: Commuting in New Jersey

In the nine months since we launched RM, we have tried to provide fair and holistic commentary on a variety of political, religious, and cultural topics. Today, however, is April Fools’ Day, a holiday wherein absurdity rules the roost and things are… a little different from the norm. On that note, we’re happy to present a somewhat unreasonable and immoderate take on a subject near and dear to our hearts: driving and commuting in our home state of New Jersey.

Chris

The drive to my office is about two hours round trip without traffic, which means at least three hours in reality. In the course of commuting for about a year and a half, I’ve compiled a few scattershot observations about traveling in NJ.

  • New Jersey: where doing 80 MPH in the right lane will earn you looks of disgust from other drivers who, as they fly past your car, wonder what led you to such a torpid, stuporous existence.
  • I’m convinced that Purgatory will probably look like a traffic jam in the tri-state area, except that in Purgatory you have a better chance of actually getting to your destination.
  • If my soul had a face, this would be its reaction whenever I see anyone with truck nuts affixed to their car.
  • Saw a dude pass another car on the shoulder of the highway a couple months back. Because when there are two other lanes open for use, the best option is to make your own.
  • NJ Transit reports that 79% of customers would recommend its services to a friend or relative. NJ Transit is a PUBLIC TRANSIT SYSTEM. In many cases, people have no other choice to get to their destination. Of course there’s a high recommendation rate!
  • Here’s a handy map of Route 3 for you to consult when stuck in traffic.
  • I can think of a few thousand better ways you could have spent your money instead of souping up your Toyota Camry with a spoiler and gold rims.

To non-New Jersey residents: despite what’s listed above, I encourage you to come visit our state. Contrary to its reputation, there are actually (I’m not kidding) some beautiful areas that warrant your time and patronage. But for the love of God, DO NOT attempt to travel here from 7-9am or 4-6pm on weekdays. You will be eaten alive.

Matt

I would also like to take advantage of this brief suspension of the rules to offer some of my own thoughts on commuting in New Jersey. RM will be back to its regularly scheduled programming of reasonableness and moderation and refuting stereotypes about the personality traits of Garden State residents before long, but sometimes you just need to get something off your chest. (Have you ever seen The Purge? Me neither, but it’s kind of like that.)

Unlike Chris, my commute involves fighting my way across Manhattan as well as New Jersey. But like Chris’ commute, mine can also take about two hours… one way. In fact, I spent about that long on a veritable expedition to work yesterday morning, when my bus was rerouted to the train station in Newark on account of a pothole at the Lincoln Tunnel (sorry, “roadway depression”) that was in need of emergency repair.

That odyssey gave me some time to daydream, and I decided that if I had absolute power over NJ Transit and the Port Authority, there are at least seven things I would do to improve the daily commute of millions of road-weary souls:

(0. Use my power to punish my political enemies with traffic jams. I’m not even counting this as one of the seven things because, like, it goes without saying.)

1. Before taking any specific actions, do a traffic study to figure out which are the most urgent problems facing the transit system in the metropolitan area. No, not a “traffic study.” A traffic study.

2. Befriend New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and use some of the proceeds from his planned expropriation of all private businesses in the city to fund the construction of a new tunnel under the Hudson River (NJ taxpayers won’t be on the hook!).

3. Cut the cost of bus rides by handing over management of NJ Transit’s bus system to experienced independent contractor Fung Wah.

4. Make sure that all announcements over the loudspeakers in the Port Authority Bus Terminal clearly state the reason for delays in service. People know that “police activity” is not a real reason. Police engage in activity because something else has happened. They don’t just decide to go play bocce in the Lincoln Tunnel.

5. Bring back the Cinnabon in Port Authority, which closed earlier this year. The sublime aroma of “the goo” has been proven to inhibit the release of stress hormones in the bodies of harried travelers. This obviously won’t improve anyone’s commute in an objective sense, but it will make the ordeal more tolerable.

6. Change the bus schedule so that every arrival is forty-five minutes later, but don’t tell the drivers to do anything differently. All buses will be on time, guaranteed! Some may even be early!

7. Have Cory Booker part the Hudson River, thereby facilitating travel for those who wish to walk, bike, or ride donkeys to or from Manhattan.

Feel free to write with additional suggestions. And don’t worry about your idea not being up to snuff – all of the bad ones have already been implemented, so you can’t go wrong!

 

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