A thousand cuts

This is how an OK journey design ends up as a trains wreck.  Getting from Penn Station to JFK:

  • At Penn Station:
    • Passenger “Can I get to JFK from here?”  
    • Ticket Office: “Yes trains take 20 minutes and leaves every 15.  It costs$4.19.”
  • On the platform:
    • Passenger: “Does this train go to JFK?” 
    • Fellow passenger: ” Yes but you have to change at Jamaica.  This is definitely the right route.”
  • On train:
    • Passenger: “Won’t I need to keep my ticket for the leg from Jamaica to JFK?”
    • Guard: “No you need to pay another $5 for that leg”
  • At Jamaica Station:
    • Announcement: “Sorry the trains to JFK are cancelled you need to go 1 stop then switch to a shuttle.  Sorry for the inconvenience”. 
    • Passenger: “How long will it take to take to JFK?”.
    • Guard: “I can’t say but if you are in a hurry you should take a Taxi which will take 20 minutes.
  • At JFK:
    • Driver: “Alight here for terminal 4”

Ultimately the end to end journey from Penn station to JFK  takes 3 times longer than promised and costs twice as much.  It could have cost me the flight and it felt like they didn’t give a damn.

A few more words by the front line staff at Penn Station and JFK was all it would have taken to transform the experience.

A reminder, if any is needed, of the importance of beginnings and endings of journeys be they virtual or physical.

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