Closures, overcrowding, rats: New York City commuters face ‘summer of hell’

By Tom McCarthy : theguardian – excerpt

Being trapped is a common thread in fictional future forecasts. Our urban planners’  future perfect plans for tiny crowded units with public transport ride-shares feel a lot like the futuristic city depicted in the 1985 Terry Gilliam movie, “Brazil”. where there is no easy way out.

The city’s aging subway has been declared ‘a state of emergency’. Combined with closures on other rail lines, riders are bracing for the worst

There was a time – somewhere between the 1990s exorcism of violent crime from much of New York City and Thursday, when a “state of emergency” was declared for the city’s transit system – when a nightmare scenario on the subway meant a rat crawling up your leg, over your chest and nearly into your hoody.

That remains a vividly awful prospect. But in the summer of 2017, rats are competing with a ballooning number of alternative potential torments for commuters (the term is used optimistically) who venture into the city’s aging underground.

Dangerously overcrowded platforms. Chronically delayed trains. Terrifying and injurious derailments. Tunnel strandings. Signal malfunctions. Fisticuffs. Electrical outages. Garbled announcements. Knockout stenches. Non-rat wildlife. Stairs, shoulders, backups, backpacks, bad attitudes and bad breath.

A particularly unlucky group of rush hour F-train riders last month were stuck inside overheating train cars for so long that video of their desperate fingers prying open fogged-up doors looked not so much like the scene from a commute as footage from a zombie movie… (more)

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