For well over a century, when huge snowstorms or other weather-related disturbances hit, the train networks around NYC still operated. Sure, there were delays — sometimes lengthy — and scheduled trains might be cancelled or “combined.” But if you hung around the station and had a few more drinks while waiting, eventually you might find your way crammed into a train home, or further away, on AMtrak or its pre-1970’s predecessors. ANy of us who have commuted from GCT on the New Haven Line for years have probably had that kind of thing happen. But we got home.
And many of us probably at some point heard the authorities’ exhortations on radio, or on those electronic signs above the interstates: “If you must travel, use mass transit. “
It’s only in the last decade I’ve noted that the MTA seems to view this aspect of its service role as “optional.” 12 inches of snow expected ? Shut rail service down. Subways, too, sometimes. I haven’t heard them actually state it flat out, but the underlying message is: If you must travel, just drive. In hazardous conditions. You’re on your own. Tough cookies.