By Clark Goldband
Nobody asked me but I hope the title of this column has caught the administration's eye.
Thanksgiving is the busiest travel week of the year. Nothing is more frustrating than struggling with your luggage. So now that the holiday is over it's abundantly clear that our "Blue Beatle" bus service is horribly inadequate.
Now don't get me wrong, the drivers are all top notch, and the route and time schedule are sufficient. It's the equipment that needs fixing.
Anyone who has ever ridden on these atrociously loud and unstable busses knows exactly what I'm talking about. It all starts when you try to enter the vehicle, which is fine for transporting fourth graders to class, but its doorway lacks access for anyone who doesn't possess a 33 inch waist or wants to carry on a suitcase. I'm presuming this hinders a primary purpose of the vehicle, as its ultimate destination every hour is the Hempstead train station.
However if you do manage to fit your bag through the door, entering the aisle of the vehicle poses another problem. I can't tell you how many times I've seen these poor vehicle operators smacked in the head with luggage. Okay fine I've done it a few times myself, but this is a regular pattern, especially during transit peak times. Furthermore the size of the bus is often inadequate during rush hours. Students and faculty are forced to unsafely stand in the aisles because all seats are taken. I know they're going to come back and tell me it's legal, but legality and safely aren't always optimally on the same page.
An epiphany came to me this weekend while waiting at the Hempstead train station for the Blue Beatle to show up. Actually it was another bus that spawned my anger. A gorgeous deluxe motor coach from Adelphi cruised in front of me.
Now, the bus wasn't swanky or overdone, it was quite similar to the shuttle vans in airports that drop off customers to car rental counters. Plenty of seats and plenty of luggage space. And I'm pretty sure that these vehicles don't jump off their axels while driving 15 miles per hour over speed bumps.
There are two solutions to remedy the problem. First, create a separate, adequate motor coach to shuttle students and faculty back and forth to train station. (I guess we'll tolerate the toxic diesel fumes and the herniated discs while riding around campus.)
Or simply get rid of the school buses and upgrade. Hofstra wants to be a major national player, yet when I visit schools like Boston University, or the University of Indiana the busses are actual busses, not embarrassingly old refurbished school busses painted blue.
I suppose in the long run this issue may be minor, but so is planting new trees...oh wait I forgot the bus system isn't shown during the tour.
I've adopted a soldier and unfortunately his emails have been coming back heavily with a scent of desperation and despair. The election is over and apparently America (Ohio through Nevada) thinks it's more important for two consenting adults not to marry each other than to bring home our men and women in Iraq.
Just when I was brought to an untapped level of despair and frustration I received another email from my soldier.
Yeah I got the package man ( : sorry I haven't been able to write you a physical letter... I haven't even had time to write my parents a physical letter. They keep sending us outside of the gate on missions. I'm currently at another base right now waiting to go out on the road again. Things are bad over here (I'm sure you see what's goin on with Fallujah on the news). We're right in the middle of all of it too. The PS2 games are great too, I wish I had more time to play them though. If you use instant messenger, my screen name is [removed]. IM me if you see me online! I'll try to write you if I have time Clark. THANK YOU SO MUCH for everything man!
Ladies and gentleman the fight cannot stop. Eighteen months after the war is over and we still don't have the major highway from the airport to Baghdad secured. Eighteen months and one of the largest cities in the country is still not in our hands. Hundreds of American children are now fatherless, or motherless, or both. When you feel defeated think of the kids whose parents are out there, they all need to come home. Troops in Iraq may not be able to speak freely, so we need to speak for them.
I urge everyone to log onto www.booksforsoldiers.com, choose a soldier and start mailing out some goodies. As pathetic as it is - many of the soldiers need items like baby wipes, Chap Stick, and razors. n