I will be the first person to admit it. I am scared of getting blown up. I am suspicious of every person on every subway line and I’m not ashamed of saying it. A few months ago the exposed subway terrorism plot that was going to detonate bombs on the 6 line near Grand Central terminal and the 2,3 line in Times Square left me aghast. At the time it hit a little bit too close to home for me, as a daily rider of the 6 train, and I began taking the bus to and from work. While I realize you can’t let fear run your life, I also realize how much I value having arms and legs. And although I can’t necessarily control a terrorist act affecting me, I can certainly reduce the odds that I will be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately I work too far from home to be able to walk each way without leaving my house at 4am. But you can bet I would show up to work all sweaty if I could.
Yes, I get it- nothing has happened yet. There are cops and patrolmen down on the platforms monitoring everything. But we’ve all ridden the subways. We’ve all carried a huge bag or backpack and haven’t been searched. And we’ve all heard of scheme after scheme be uncovered where plans were in place to hurt a lot of Manhattaners. That’s enough for me. In fact, while the bus does take a bit longer, being above ground seeing the streets on my way to and from the office has actually been a nice change of pace. The city is even working to make bus travel easier with new travel reform featuring Bus Only lanes and ticket swiping booths on the street, rather than on the bus.
If international information has taught us anything, buses are clearly not immune from acts of terror, but since there hasn’t really been any foiled terror plot reported involving New York City buses, they give me some extra peace of mind during my daily commute. I can deal with a couple of extra minutes for the bus to lower and raise the ramp for handicapped passengers if it means getting to work safely. So all in all, I have to leave my apartment a little bit earlier. The bus seems to stop every two blocks to pick up and drop off passengers, which can be a little bit frustrating. But these nuisances have become the norm for me. My walk to and from the bus stops are shorter. And now I can at least sit comfortably in a seat rather than crowded and stuffed in a subway car like a sardine, with other, much smellier passengers. Perhaps I’m overreacting or over thinking the situation. But I take solace in knowing how devastating such an act of violence would be and that I’m doing whatever little part I can to remove myself from that situation. Just something to think about.
- Jane Van Arsdale