Saturday, June 10, 2017

Photo of the Day: Reopened George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal

In mid-May, the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal in upper Manhattan finally reopened two years behind schedule and $17 million over budget. In many parts of the U.S. and the world, this would be regarded as a boondoggle, even a scandal. Here in the Northeast, it's seen as blessed relief after endless commuter abuse. 

A couple of weekends ago, I took this photograph of the interior, where the buses come in.

I was not enamored of the renovation—partly because, I think, I did not enter where I could see the new gym, restaurants, shopping, and even a dentist office. Moreover, I was not thrilled with the cashless ticketing process. (Bad enough that commuters now won’t be able to buy tickets from a bus driver and must board with tickets or monthly passes. But the terminal should have at least one window open where clerks are available to provide tickets, rather than conferring with each other while passengers were left to fend for themselves in finding ticket-dispensing machines, as occurred when I was there.)

Still, passengers like me are glad for little things, like not having to climb up stairs that were a horror show for the elderly and disabled. And the 125-seat waiting room won’t be exposed to the elements, while providing air conditioning and heating.

Further downtown, a far bigger project—the renovation of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan—hasn’t even gotten off the ground yet. (Construction can’t start until an environmental review, which won’t be completed for another two years.) 

Meanwhile, commuters have gotten used to the sight of buckets capturing drops from leaky roofs during winter in the creaking midtown structure. We’ll see how long the entire process takes for this to be finished. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to enjoy it by the time I retire. Maybe.

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