Forget the odds. The pollsters tell us Bill de Blasio, the Democrats’ candidate of choice, is poised to trounce the GOP’s Joe Lhota by a commanding margin in next week’s mayoral race.
But that is no reason not to vote.
There are other important contests that have an impact on voters closer to home. The election for borough president is one as well as the races for City Council seats throughout the borough. The borough president helps fund capital projects, such as the renovation of the Queens Museum of Art, and Council members parcel out money for community nonprofits.
On Election Day, a lot is at stake at the polls.
It’s time Long Island Rail Road conductors got some respect. These men and women, who greet riders and click their punches as they move down the aisles, are ambassadors from the MTA. They make the daily grind along bumpy tracks in crowded cars a bit more tolerable for commuters from the outerboroughs and beyond.
Dealing with Joe Public, particularly the one holding forth on his cellphone about the business deal of the century or the Mets fan who tanks up for a victory before the game, is not easy. Nor is it a piece of cake to communicate with travelers who are on the wrong train on the wrong line at the wrong time and don’t speak English.
The challenge becomes greater when air conditioning breaks down, lights don’t work, signals stop working and trains are late. Who’s to blame? The person in the blue suit who becomes the living incarnation of the LIRR/MTA. There must be a chapter in the conductors’ training manual for maintaining cool despite the worst-case scenario. Most have learned the lesson well.
It may not be protocol, but some have been known to open the doors again as the train is prepared to leave the station to let a desperate straggler into the car. Others have escorted female passengers riding in empty cars late at night into cars where there are other riders.
Of course, there are conductors who avoid eye contact in the morning and look impatient when they have to make change for tickets bought onboard. Not all LIRR workers are model employees, but for the most part the people patrolling the aisles are humane even after hours of toiling on the country’s largest commuter railroad.
These conductors deserve a shoutout.