A Commuter’s Nighmare: Part II

The weather gods have not been kind to me over the past several weeks. Whatever has settled over the east coast is making this one of the coldest winters I can recall in recent years, and it looks like it’s here to stay. When last week’s forecast called for snow on Tuesday, I felt a knot of worry form in my gut. I made a series of rather fruitless calls to BoltBus customer service on Monday, asking if they planned to cancel any of their buses, but the woman I spoke to was rude and provided no helpful information. I woke up Tuesday morning (on time!) and prepared myself for the worst. I got on the bus at the Philadelphia departure point without seeing a single flurry. However, within half an hour the sky was grey and the roads were dusty with a layer of snow.

My already normally frigid walk to the office now presented me with slippery sidewalks and a wind that blew snowy bits directly into my face. Hailing a cab in this weather was futile, and traffic was already slowing to a more cautious speed. I noted the covering on cars, stoops and street corners and knew this didn’t bode well for my commute home. At 9:38 a.m., an email confirmed that my bus going home had been canceled. At lunch, another intern asked how I planned to get home, and I explained how I would take an NJ Transit train to the Trenton Transportation Center, at which point I would transfer to the SEPTA Trenton Line that would take me into Philadelphia. She raised her eyebrows and wished me luck.

Much to the surprise of everyone else in the office, an email sent to all of corporate announced a 4 p.m. office-wide early dismissal. Even though the rest of the PR team appeared to be staying, the press assistant urged us to be on our way. A shuttle waiting to take employees first to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, then to Grand Central Station, was waiting outside. It would have been convenient had there not been bumper-to-bumper traffic, which made what should have been a short trip about 45 minutes long. Making it out of the city in a snowstorm would be no easy feat.

A short subway ride from Port Authority took me to Penn Station (and forced me to buy a Metro card) where a train to Trenton was patiently waiting on the tracks. For once! A lucky break! I hopped right on the train and with virtually no delays, made it to my transfer location. When I arrived in Trenton, a SEPTA train was also waiting to go to Philadelphia, which made me feel seriously relieved. However, due to some indiscernible emergency announcement made over the speaker, our train was destined to sit on the platform for another half an hour. When we did finally begin to travel any significant distance, the train would slow to a stop, where it would sit for another ten minutes. I arrived at 30th Street Station after over 3 hours spent on the train, and to be honest, little feeling in my behind. After a slippery walk over snow-covered sidewalks, I finally made it to my apartment where I promptly curled up in bed, too tired to even think about making dinner.

I knew that commuting in the winter would come with its challenges, but I never expected them to be this exhausting.


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