Few things are less heartening to hear on a MARTA intercom than “We have a station offline, trains are backing up. If you have a commute alternative, you may wish to consider it.” Well, maybe a stream of angry Arabic might be worse, but considering I was well into my commute route and my “alternative” was riding all the way back and driving into town, it was bad enough. I fired off an email to a friend at work, cranked up the tunes and settled into a mumbling tirade worthy of a train prophet.
MARTA has the funds to incorporate a brand new fare & gate system (which is operating at a higher overhead than the old token-based system according to some sources) but can’t slap a coat of paint its aging fleet of trains or keep the electrical working reliably at certain troublesome stations?
Half an hour later, I had barely finished my “End is Nigh” sandwich board when the train operator announced that power had been restored and the que of trains would begin moving shortly. This pleasant surprise was met by an equally surprising chorus of “Praise Lord Jesus” from my fellow commuters.
While I acknowledge the efforts of the savior of mankind, I reflexively retorted “Praise Electrical Engineers”. Apparently a bit too loudly though, as a few people turned around and stared at me. Only the guy toting the enormous computer bag near the doors appeared to grin.