Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, April 16, 2021

How does a daily two-hour commute, each way, grab you? How about if you didn’t need a car for it? Responding to rider demand, the Metro-North Railroad has started running commuter trains earlier into the predawn hours.

Riders say they never imagined they’d be waking up at 4 a.m. or earlier to go to work. But there are benefits.

“It’s valuable time before the phone starts ringing and the meetings start,” said Mike Forte, an engineer from Thornwood, N.Y. “You can actually get some work done.”

The worst part? “When I get in the Dunkin’ Donuts isn’t open yet,” Forte said.

I’ve been in the professional workforce for a dozen years now, and it kills me how this concept of “valuable time”, i.e. work hours not subject to meetings or office communications, is felt to be a necessary optimizer. If all the meetings and such get in the way of “real work” — and I know, they do — why not minimize or eliminate them? That people resort to coming in extra early or working late, just to avoid the normal flow of the workplace, underlines the inefficiency of the structure.

As onerous as the train commute sounds, especially if you live in the far-north ‘burbs (50 miles from Manhattan, where I hail from), the “dead time” spent in transit is only as dead as you want it to be. Napping on the way down is common practice, and not particularly risky (Grand Central Terminal is the last stop, so if you’re heading into the City itself, you’re not going to miss your disembarkation). Otherwise, you’ve got plenty of time to do some work on a notebook computer (no wireless Web, unfortunately), do some reading, listen or watch something on the iPod, read a newspaper or two, etc. It beats spending practically as much time behind the wheel in a daily traffic jam.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/16/2006 11:00pm
Category: New Yorkin', Society
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  1. SUPER-STRETCHING THE METRO BOUNDARIES

    We already knew about more people doing the daily two-hour ride on the Metro-North trains into New York. But regularly commuting from south of Trenton?
    That’s the size of it for some workers, as their residential migration is expanding the defi…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 05/21/2006 @ 6:31 PM

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