Monday, 7 January 2013

Safe Home at Least

I had a great Christmas with Del and the family and now I am back in New Haven.

Not without drama, though.

Here is the rant penned on the train up to CT:

Wow. Never again am I using Q Conn shuttle. What a crappy outfit. On the outward journey, when I needed to get to LaGuardia airport to go to Edmonton, they called me at work at 1.30pm. This surprised me as I had confirmed a 3.30 pm pickup at the hotel by my house. I missed the call and called back but the guy didn’t pick up until my third call at 1.50pm, at which point he told me he was picking me up at 2.15. I was still at work and hadn’t finished packing (plan was to go home at 2.30 and spend an hour doing last-minute things and throw everything else in the suitcase) so I tried to at least negotiate a 2.30 pickup and he wouldn’t do it. Told me 2.15 or no ride.

So, I rushed home like a mad thing, leaving my computers at work with stuff all over the place, and threw some stuff in a bag and was more or less ready at 2.15 (of course I later found out I left a number of key things behind – I forgot a whole pile that was ready to throw in because of the last-minute change to being picked up more than an hour early).

So I rush outside at 2.15 and the guy is there, but he then stands talking on his cell for 15 minutes outside my house. This is driving me nuts because I REALLY could have used that 15 minutes for packing! THEN he drives BACK to the med school (the workplace I rushed home from ) and circles it a couple of times before finally picking up some other guy, so now there are four of us crowded into a random SUV. Oh, which also smelled of weed.

THEN the guy stops on the highway ten minutes out of New Haven and shoves us all out and into another van full of other students. At this point someone asks if he will make his 6.30 flight out of JFK and the driver shrugs.

We drive to NYC and it transpires that half of us are for LaGuardia and half for JFK, and the JFK half are on track to miss their flight because we drove around for so long. Another girl tells me she waited outside her house for half an hour for the driver to show up and she’s STILL going to be late for her flight. The driver gets on the phone and arranges for another car to pick up the JFK half of the people. We pull off at Dunkin’ Donuts and wait around. For twenty minutes. The JFK people are now well and truly screwed. Other driver never shows. We drive on down the road (with the driver muttering darkly under his breath) and pull over, this time on the side of the highway. Another SUV pulls up and those of us for LaGuardia are dumped into it. I make my flight (I might be the only one who did) but had to wait around the airport forever because buddy picked me up so early.

Fast forward to last night… I get an email confirming my pickup at LaGuardia at 5.22pm. Perfect. I get my bags and wait by the shuttle pickup until 5.22. No shuttle. I wait 20 more minutes. No shuttle. I text Helena to get their number and call about ten times. Nobody answers, and it goes to a voice mailbox that is full. I get the airport people to radio the other terminals to make sure no one there is waiting for me. No such luck. Finally, an hour later, I give up and cram myself onto an M60 bus into the city. I don’t really know what I’m doing and I don’t have the right change and I can’t manage my luggage that well (since I expected to be picked up) but some New Yorker takes me under his wing and explains the route and where to get off. The bus driver is insane – at first I think it is just me and my sheltered country ways, but everyone else on the bus is also clinging on for dear life and muttering about taking their lives in their own hands.

Then the bus driver makes a totally unintelligible announcement, but my new friend tells me the bus is ending and to get on the bus right after it. There is no room at all for me and my huge bags but some guy in a uniform tells me to climb in the back door. I try but I have a LOT of luggage. Someone boosts me up and I sort of climb on top of my luggage so as not to block the aisle. Eventually the bus stops, and I ask if it’s the train station and someone says yes, but it turns out not to be, but by then I’ve been semi-shoved off the bus so I run the next few blocks through Harlem to the train, hoping I will see the station when I get there. I do, but I spill everything everywhere trying to get a ticket. The New Haven train leaves. I look for an elevator but don’t see one, so struggle up the steps bag by bag. Some man takes my bag for me and asks what the heck I think I’m doing. I thank him profusely and then see the sign for an elevator somewhere at the end of the platform. Looks like a good day to depend on the kindness of strangers.

But I finally got the train and so far so good. No thanks to Q Conn, those jerks. Unbelievable.

Anyway, this one’s for the search engines and anyone who is googling this and wondering: Do NOT take Q Conn Shuttle from New Haven/Yale University. Q Conn shuttle is terrible, unprofessional and really on my hate list right now. I’m now wondering if there’s any way to contact Yale and get them taken off the officical “suggested ground transport” page, since that’s how I found them in the first place. Bad, bad news.

p.s. I disputed the shuttle charge on my credit card. Fingers crossed they will just refund...

1 comment:

Judith said...

What a terrible end to your vacation.