PDA

View Full Version : Going from JFK Airport to Newark Airport via Grand Central Station on public transport



Los Pollos Hermanos
01-17-2016, 07:51 PM
Happy Sunday, and I'm hoping some kind soul (or souls) can clear up something which should be quite easy to Google but has turned into a confusing mass of... erm... confusion. I don't need loads of detail - which mode of transport, where from/to and approximate journey time will suffice (just to refer to in passing).

Scenario: August 2009. A Very Bad Man arrives at New York's JFK airport and passes through immigration by ~10.30pm. He wants to get to Newark Airport asap but stay as far under the radar as possible on his journey. Humour him; he's on the lam, in disguise and has his reasons for mixing up his transportation types (and he owns a shedload of fake ID)!

In the current paragraph the backstory is that he got a cab from JFK to Grand Central Station, from where he got the Newark Airport Express Bus ( http://www.panynj.gov/airports/ewr-public-transportation.html ). Bus sets down at Newark's A, B and C terminals. He'd want A or B for car rental (doesn't matter which one as I don't name a rental company).

Does that sound correct/feasible? I found reference to an AirTrain at Newark, although the maps of each terminal suggest it wouldn't be needed if he was getting the bus from NYC to Newark.

My only experience of transfers from JFK to Manhattan was in 1994. It was a dark August night ;) , more humid than a Louisiana alligator's codpiece and we were in a minibus. Other than that and a sightseeing bus tour we didn't do public transport and, even if we had done, it was ages ago.

Thanks in anticipation,

LPH.

CassandraW
01-17-2016, 08:05 PM
Hi, NYC resident here.

FYI, one can do this entire journey by public transport, and it would probably be best to do it through Penn Station rather than via Grand Central.

If it were me, I'd take the JFK air train to Jamaica, catch a Long Island Railroad Train to Penn Station (which, fyi, takes 15-20 minutes as a rule once you're on the train; they come fairly frequently), and from there, catch a NJ Transit train to Newark (which takes about 30 minutes).

You'll have wait time and air train time to figure into your calculations, which will vary quite a bit depending on the day of the week or the time of day and your timing. But doing the journey this way would probably take less time than the cab/bus combo because you'd avoid the traffic in and out of Manhattan, and though you might have to wait for trains, you'd also have to wait for the cab and the bus. Finally, doing the entire journey by train would be less conspicuous -- a cab driver would be more likely to remember his passenger than the thousands of preoccupied commuters on the train.


ETA:

You could also google to see if there is any shuttle bus that goes directly between the two airports. I have never done that trip, and so do not know.

[and it looks like there may be -- see this link: http://www.vayama.com/airport-transportation/new-york/from-john-f-kennedy-intl-arpt-to-newark-liberty-intl-arpt You might want to check to make sure it is accurate and up to date before relying on it, though. ]

But the "getting stuck for hours in traffic" thing is something to consider, and is a factor with either the bus or a cab. I generally take the train to the airport for that reason. If there's a lot of traffic, it can actually be faster (not to mention cheaper) than a cab, and is nearly always faster than the bus.

Also, for a bad guy trying to avoid notice (especially if he is being pursued) a train is probably best. Easy for him to lose someone in crowds at Penn Station, and he could move to another car and get off at another stop if he wanted to lose someone. And less risk of just being stuck, a sitting duck, in traffic.

Los Pollos Hermanos
01-17-2016, 08:24 PM
Thanks for the speedy reply! Was that transport combo around back in 2009? Public transport seems to change so quickly these days and there's nothing worse than getting it wrong. (e.g. I have a family fly from London to Denver in 1990 - it was Stapleton Airport back then, not the replacement DIA and its amazing Blucifer ;) ). I'd seen reference to Jamaica and Penn on my Googling missions - which included TripAdvisor forums giving lots of conflicting advice. If he took that route and I said in total it had taken a little under two hours does that sound feasible? And, once he'd got off the NJ transit train at Newark would he have to get the Newark AirTrain to the airport?

I had thought about trains, etc being more anonymous than a cab but wondered if a cab would be quicker with it being later at night and therefore longer intervals between buses/trains? I remember the traffic was a bit mad in Manhattan well into the evening, although is this still the case at midnight-ish? I used to live near London and went to university in Manchester - in each of those cities there's still plenty of traffic later at night but its not as manic as during the day - so applied the same logic to the other side of The Pond.

Cheers me dears!

Ooooh, just seen your extra goodies. The direct public transport seems to finish too early, which is a shame. The bad guy isn't frantic to get out of New York; he knows the long arm of the law is after him... and that they don't have a clue where he is!

CassandraW
01-17-2016, 08:38 PM
I'm pretty sure my suggested options were around. I don't use Newark airport much, so I'm less sure of that one. (Once upon a time, when I was pulling in a much larger paycheck than now, I took cabs to the airport. It took me a while to figure out that it was often more efficient, if you didn't have much luggage, to take public transport.)

You should pretty easily be able to learn when the air trains at each airport were completed. If the airtrain was in place, I can pretty much guarantee that the train connecting to Manhattan was available.

I'd be very surprised if both weren't established by 2009.

ETA:

At midnight, there would be much less traffic, so the cab would be more efficient than the train. But by the same token, the bus to Newark would not be at all efficient because you'd have to wait forever for it. If it were purely a matter of efficiency, he should take a cab all the way -- or, if he wanted to throw someone off, take one cab to Manhattan, and then switch cabs.

If it is the middle of the night, you definitely want to do some research into public transport schedules. I'm sure something will be running, it being NYC, but neither buses nor trains will be running nearly as frequently. In the daytime, it's every few minutes for a train.

FWIW, I think he might be less conspicuous traveling during the day, lost in the mobs.

cornflake
01-17-2016, 08:40 PM
I didn't know any buses to airports ran outside Grand Central (assuming that does); I'd have thought Penn too. I'm in NYC too.

I'd take a cab - and at that time yeah two hours is ok - I'd also go across the GW.

Bing Z
01-17-2016, 09:49 PM
I don't have comments regarding transportation modes, but why would this guy, who is on the lam, want to rent a car at Newark Airport?

Where is he heading, and how much does he know the area?

Los Pollos Hermanos
01-17-2016, 11:57 PM
The plane gets in late at JFK, much to his irritation. It's either find a hotel for the night or get public transport across town. He chooses the latter. The bus runs all night from Grand Central to Newark Airport according to my googling. Might just have him get another cab from GC as it'll be less hassle. He's not in a massive rush as The Law don't know he's in town and it's not like he needs to catch a connecting flight.

He wants to rent a car as a decoy and regularly does stuff like that using a false name (+ disguise) to throw The Law off his scent. He dumps it in a random part of Akron OH the next day and pays cash for a beat-up shed on wheels, which he discards a few days later closer to his (unknown to The Law) bolthole. In the words of an English detective who's also after him** "He's a proper crafty bugger, so he is."

** He's been a bad lad on both sides of The Pond. He's originally English but has lived in the US since he was 14 and knows New York quite well.

Big cheers to you all for the extras...

jclarkdawe
01-18-2016, 12:42 AM
I think you have a problem here that may be addressed and you're not mentioning them. But your approach is not going to do what you want it to for helping him hide. After 9/11, two major changes happened to being on the lam. The first is cameras and the second is the computer.

To fly out of England, he's going to need his passport. There's an international database of passports, especially the major countries. Forged passports need to be in the computer database to survive such a check. And remember that the passport is checked on both ends a lot of times.

Disguises need a lot of work to be effective.

And he's going to be photographed getting on and off the plane, as well as the numerous other cameras you get at an airport. Public transportation have lots of cameras as well. Moving on public transportation is no longer a good way to confuse followers.

I'd think about him hiring a plane for the flight. Then a series of taxicabs to lose the trail. Depending upon how badly the police want this guy, the route you're taking will stall the police less than a day.

Buying a car is good as long as you stay with the temporary paper plates. Actually registering the car takes some work as you're dealing with the computer database again. They'll run a check to see whether you have any outstanding tickets or fines.

Lose the car in a long-term parking lot.

9/11 really changed how to be on the lam, especially internationally.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

CassandraW
01-18-2016, 12:55 AM
I hadn't thought about the camera angle. If the authorities are hot on his trail, especially if he's coming in late at night, when there aren't crowds, this could be a real problem.

However, if they had didn't know the timing of his flight (and/or where he was flying from and to etc.), and if he flew in during a busy time, I would submit that looking through camera footage at JFK, Penn Station etc. would be a very needle -in-the-haystack business, especially if the character took the trouble to disguise himself somewhat. The footage from those things tends to be grainy as hell, and god, the mobs that go through those airports and Penn Station... I daresay I couldn't find my own mother on one of those cameras unless I had a decent idea to narrow down where to look.

In any case, it would probably take time to pick him out, assuming he were a few steps ahead of them, by which time he would presumably have dumped the car and be in another state. I'm guessing that's the idea.

I thought of the passport (and credit card) problem. i'm assuming the OP has, as well, and is working up a way for the character to get a convincing fake passport and credit cards. God knows, identity theft happens all the time.

waylander
01-18-2016, 12:58 AM
I've done that JFK - air train- Penn Station trip in the mid 2000s. Remember to factor in how long getting through immigration at JFK could take your character. Particularly if a flight from (say) Jamaica had landed just before his. Could easily be an hour.

Bing Z
01-18-2016, 01:09 AM
I am not in the hoop but I don't like the rental car idea. Besides a (fake) driver's license, they will need a credit card. So that's identity theft that may have a narrow window before it busts. It's just convoluted, unless that is actually your intention.

What if he pays cash for a beat-up shed on wheels in Newark or Paterson? Or ride a Greyhound/Megabus/Chinatown coach to Philly and buy a beat-up there?

jclarkdawe
01-18-2016, 01:53 AM
You're right that the main areas are easy to hide in. But what you do is identify choke points. For instance, checking people going in and out a door is where you can really pick out individuals. When you go through customs, your picture is taken. Your main limitation is man power.

Remember that you can rule out a lot of people very quickly. Females are approximately half the population and can be ignored. There's limits to what you can do with your height and weight. Children can be ignored. Age requires a lot of work to make it effective.

If the police are hot on his trail, they've got an approximate time he flew out of the country. Very manageable search.

Remember that this provides a good limit on how far he can get ahead of the police. It's more pressure on the bad guy and something he needs to think about.

Credit card and passport are two entirely different problems. Credit cards are easy to acquire if you work at it. What you need to do is create a credit history, and then you're good to go. Passports are a different matter entirely. You can do it through the identity theft route, but it's hard. Fortunately your story is set before smart driver's license. I'm not sure what the checks are in Great Britain. You need a passport that will survive a computer check.

If he's a real bad boy, one approach is offing someone who looks like him, making sure the body is not found, and taking over the ID. You've got a good starting point with his driver's license.

Greyhound and all bus companies require an ID to take them. Sometimes they're not that good at looking at them.

If he's trying to obscure his back trail, speed is not the criteria. And he's going to try approaches that avoid the cameras.

Understand that once he uses an ID and the police find it, it can no longer be used. Credit card transactions and all ticketed transportation can be checked in a matter of minutes. A notice to people when he tries to use the ID is easy to send.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

CassandraW
01-18-2016, 02:10 AM
Agree that the OP needs to carefully think through all of that when writing the plot if he is to make it convincing.

I am no expert on any of these questions except for the specific one he asked -- getting from JFK to Newark on public transport.

cornflake
01-18-2016, 05:32 AM
Wait, sorry, I missed that he was just going to Newark to rent a car - what in the fluffity fluff? WHY in the name of all that's holy would anyone do that?

It's a bit easier to get a car at JFK, or in the city itself, than to haul your butt to Newark of all places. Why??

jclarkdawe
01-18-2016, 05:41 AM
Yeah, I've gone a bit off track, haven't I? But I'd noticed that the emphasis was on stuff you don't want to be on if you're on the lam. The guy has just been on a plane for a few hours, wondering if someone caught up with him and radioed New York, and now he's going to get on a train? You want flexibility and a lack of predictability.

Jim

CassandraW
01-18-2016, 05:42 AM
you know, I wondered about that --why go to Newark airport to rent the car rather than get it at JFK? But I just assumed that's explained in the story.

i'm just here answering questions about NYC public transport. :hi:

Los Pollos Hermanos
01-18-2016, 05:43 AM
Oh yes, convoluted is defintely the right word. He's rich and can buy the best fake ID, and he's been stockpiling aliases for years in case he ever got rumbled. He then ballsed up and got rumbled, but by the time The Law twigged this is the bad lad who's been up to no good for a fair while he'd reached England via Europe.

The Law currently think he's in Germany - they haven't even traced him to England (let alone New York) yet. He's an arrogant sod, hence the rental car - "they'll never catch me!" mentality. I need to throw a bone or two to The Law so they can sneak up on him. Give it a few chapters and they'll have traced him to NW England, linked him to a recent murder there (again, hire car as we'd say over here!) and then traced the car to Heathrow. I did think about having him pinch a car, but he's not that type of petty criminal who could hotwire a vehicle.

He did the dump a car in a long term parking lot thing when he flew out of LAX before The Law were fully on to him! The policed used photogrammetry to identify him on security footage (they had his exact measurements, won't go into plot spoilers) and worked out he'd got a flight to Zurich (there's a direct flight).

And, he's already bumped off someone who looks like him to throw The Law off the scent, which bought him a good couple of weeks until the DNA matched a guy who'd been reported missing. Have you been sneaking peaks at my story, jclarkdawe?!

Right, bedtime! Cheers for the extras, you lovely people... :D

cornflake
01-18-2016, 05:48 AM
If someone landed in JFK and went to Newark just to rent a car, I would not be able to be convinced he was a criminal mastermind. I would possibly not be able to be convinced he wasn't beatable at Tic-Tac-Toe, heh.

CassandraW
01-18-2016, 06:00 AM
Yes, as a reader, I'd need a really compelling reason for him to go to Newark to rent a car when he could get one right there.

cornflake
01-18-2016, 06:54 AM
Or a thousand places in between.

King Neptune
01-18-2016, 05:20 PM
You could simplify the thing by having him take an intercity train from Penn station to Union Station in Chicago. He could get off somewhere before his ticketed stop and buy a car there or rent a car or take an overnight bus to Dallas or somewhere.

jclarkdawe
01-18-2016, 06:03 PM
Amtrak and Greyhound, if you don't mind being identified when you get on them, are great for disappearing on.

Greyhound prints out a string of tickets, which you hand the driver at each transfer point. The driver takes the ticket that applies. Drivers don't tend to match tickets to ID. I don't believe that the tickets are dealt with other than being placed on file. In other words, the computer search will reveal the ticket, but until someone goes through the driver's actual records would someone discover the ticket wasn't used.

Amtrak is very laid back. They check IDs sometimes when they sell the ticket. That's it for comparing to your ID. Tickets are issued for each transfer, but transfers are rather rare. The conductor checks tickets to his manifest and that's it. However, the conductor tends to remember who's getting off a each stop, so if you leave early, the conductor might remember, but doesn't note it.

On both of these, the computer will indicate you took the full trip. People tend to believe the computer.

If you're on the lam, the first question is whether the authorities are going to be able to track you. If the authorities can track you, you want to disappear in a way that gives the largest number of possible outcomes. The places you can go is finite, but you can make the number of places into thousands. You do not leave clues behind to help the police unless you are an idiot. It's hard to make an idiot into a believable character.

Going from JFK to Newark to rent a car is only worth while if you use the transfer to lose the authorities. Now if he was transferring from JFK to Newark to pick up a stolen car, that I'd believe.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

CassandraW
01-18-2016, 06:08 PM
Port Authority bus station is the main terminal in Manhattan for buses going out of state, if you are interested in this idea at all.

Los Pollos Hermanos
01-18-2016, 11:56 PM
Cheers for the extra thoughts and suggestions. I really need him to slip up so that The Law link the dumped car to him, as once he disappears he could be anywhere. Even after five visits* it still amazes me how bloody mah-huse-sive the US is and how it would be so much easier to disappear there than on my tiny overcrowded little island.

* One mad NYC long weekend, a week in Denver and three roadtrips (ranging from 25-39 nights) taking in 17 states and a brief Canadian interlude.

The outcome the next day will be the same regardless. He dumps the car in Akron and buys dodgy new wheels in which to go west - or is it south?! He disappears into the ether, but when he reaches his bolthole let's just say things don't go to plan and he gets rumbled. How and by whom is all written (I'm on the Big Content Edit).

He decided to go to Newark (and use a different fake ID to the Heathrow to JFK one) so The Law might waste time checking flights even if they do link the new fake ID to him. The other option I was originally going to use is him hotwiring an old car and dumping it in Akron, but he's really not that sort of criminal. He knows enough about cars he could do basic maintenance (if he needed to, but he's loaded with ££ and $$ so never would). I'm quite happy for him to head towards Newark Airport, slip out of the back door (so to speak) and into the night and then hotwire the old car.

So, if I use this version, how easy is it to hotwire a car? Is it something I could do if I read up on it, or do you need some sort of electrical savvy? Plus, it's a bit of a trope. My one-time googling tells me enough to know it's not as easy as you see on TV. He could steal one with keys already in it - too much of a lucky coincidence though. Car jack a vehicle and kill the driver - or incapcitate the driver until he gets to Akron and dumps the vehicle? I don't mind a crafty murder. I do need The Law to trace him to Akron though, and then lose the scent from there. The tracker on the rental car would help with that.

Hmmm...

King Neptune
01-19-2016, 01:26 AM
Cheers for the extra thoughts and suggestions. I really need him to slip up so that The Law link the dumped car to him, as once he disappears he could be anywhere. Even after five visits* it still amazes me how bloody mah-huse-sive the US is and how it would be so much easier to disappear there than on my tiny overcrowded little island.

That's why some of our ancestors came here, and many were running from the law also.


* One mad NYC long weekend, a week in Denver and three roadtrips (ranging from 25-39 nights) taking in 17 states and a brief Canadian interlude.

The outcome the next day will be the same regardless. He dumps the car in Akron and buys dodgy new wheels in which to go west - or is it south?! He disappears into the ether, but when he reaches his bolthole let's just say things don't go to plan and he gets rumbled. How and by whom is all written (I'm on the Big Content Edit).

He decided to go to Newark (and use a different fake ID to the Heathrow to JFK one) so The Law might waste time checking flights even if they do link the new fake ID to him. The other option I was originally going to use is him hotwiring an old car and dumping it in Akron, but he's really not that sort of criminal. He knows enough about cars he could do basic maintenance (if he needed to, but he's loaded with ££ and $$ so never would). I'm quite happy for him to head towards Newark Airport, slip out of the back door (so to speak) and into the night and then hotwire the old car.

So, if I use this version, how easy is it to hotwire a car? Is it something I could do if I read up on it, or do you need some sort of electrical savvy? Plus, it's a bit of a trope. My one-time googling tells me enough to know it's not as easy as you see on TV. He could steal one with keys already in it - too much of a lucky coincidence though. Car jack a vehicle and kill the driver - or incapcitate the driver until he gets to Akron and dumps the vehicle? I don't mind a crafty murder. I do need The Law to trace him to Akron though, and then lose the scent from there. The tracker on the rental car would help with that.

Hmmm...

Stealing a car is usually a stupid move, even if it may seem obvious, so that might be the way to go. Another thing that there is a lot of in the U.S.A. are surveillance cameras. I don't know Akron, but in most cities one is in the range of someone's surveillance camera most of the time. Then there's the matter of dropping something that he wants to keep with him. That happens to everyone sometimes, even when careful.

Hotwiring cars is difficult now. Some will set off alarms if someone tries. Buses and trains are easy, safe, and they give some the opportunity to see territory that they could drive through hardly noticing, because the traffic was so heavy. Taking a train toward Chicago and getting off some where in Ohio, then having him take a bus to Akron, when he can buy a car and drive off into the sunset. You could have him slip up while buying the car. He might show the seller the wrong ID, for example, or the seller could take a copy of the wrong thing to toss in with the documents. Something like that could lead to him being noticed, but it would take some time.

Bing Z
01-19-2016, 03:01 AM
He decided to go to Newark (and use a different fake ID to the Heathrow to JFK one) so The Law might waste time checking flights even if they do link the new fake ID to him. The other option I was originally going to use is him hotwiring an old car and dumping it in Akron, but he's really not that sort of criminal. He knows enough about cars he could do basic maintenance (if he needed to, but he's loaded with ££ and $$ so never would). I'm quite happy for him to head towards Newark Airport, slip out of the back door (so to speak) and into the night and then hotwire the old car.

So, if I use this version, how easy is it to hotwire a car? Is it something I could do if I read up on it, or do you need some sort of electrical savvy? Plus, it's a bit of a trope. My one-time googling tells me enough to know it's not as easy as you see on TV. He could steal one with keys already in it - too much of a lucky coincidence though. Car jack a vehicle and kill the driver - or incapcitate the driver until he gets to Akron and dumps the vehicle? I don't mind a crafty murder. I do need The Law to trace him to Akron though, and then lose the scent from there. The tracker on the rental car would help with that.

Hmmm...
He could hotwire a car anywhere in NYC (no reason to travel to Newark to steal a car.)

Alternatively, if you want him to be the kind of criminals who plans ahead, he could have an associate to provide him with a car, which he will pay with cash. Or he could have secured the purchase of such a car in advance for delivery in Newark or NYC before he leaves the UK (maybe using a disposable cell phone & emial addy thru Craiglist etc, maybe using Tor & paid with Bitcoins [Wikipedia says Bitcoins were in circulation from 2009].)

jclarkdawe
01-19-2016, 03:37 AM
I don't like Newark for this for a variety of reasons. Here's how I'd approach this:

1. Fly into JFK. He can figure they'll track this eventually.

2. Use Uber for what he describes when he sets it up as a local haul. When the Uber driver picks him up, he can explain to the driver that something came up and he needs to go to Washington DC. This can't be tracked by the Feds unless the driver comes forward. Trail is broken. Uber driver can be convinced by a few hundred dollar bills. Have him dropped at a motel.

3. DC is nice because it has a bunch of car rental options and a good public transit system. The police can trace him through the subway system for all the good that does them. You want several car rental places so that he can choose the right one. If he's an American, he'll need his driver's license and a credit card. He wants to find the place that's a little bit inefficient. Foreign, he'd need his passport and international license as well.

4. Rent a car and drive to Akron. One way to ditch a car is find a good parking lot and leave the key in the car. Wal-Mart has some good parking lots, but you've got to watch the cameras.

5. He buys a car in Akron. He'll pay cash and only needs to show his license. Car dealer can temporarily register the car with paper plates. These plates are good for 10 days usually. Car dealer can also set up insurance.

Okay, at this point, he's probably lost the Feds, even with massive resources. But we can throw a hook into this. Before dumping the car, he takes and rubs a cloth over everything he thinks he touched. However, he forgets the power mirror button and leaves a partial print. That's fine, except for one minor problem.

The car he abandons gets stolen and isn't reported, so it's good for cruising. While the boys from the hood are cruising, they get into a shoot out with some members of another gang. At least one person dies, and the police recover the car. And because it's a murder, the entire car is checked for prints, and his partial print is discovered.

Now I'm assuming they've got a BOLO (be on the lookout) out and they've got his fingerprints. So his partial will be compared against the databases and will report a hit. Here's where you can have some real fun. Fingerprints are matched with a certain number of points matching. The higher and lower the number of points that match, the more or less reliable the print is.

So random bad luck lead the police to his trail.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

cornflake
01-19-2016, 06:20 AM
Since he's got all sorts of fake ID, why not just grab a car at JFK or NYC? I'm probably missing something but ...

jclarkdawe
01-19-2016, 06:44 AM
Since he's got all sorts of fake ID, why not just grab a car at JFK or NYC? I'm probably missing something but ...

Car rental places at JFK almost definitely have cameras aimed at the customers. Easy to run the photos when you know when he arrived in the US. My guess is JFK is one of the most security conscious airports in the world, and NYC is definitely one of the most security conscious cities.

In the US, you want to use our distance to your advantage. Police tend to draw a circle around something. NYC has an incredible amount of resources. Checking all the car rental places within a hundred miles is not that difficult for NYC.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Bing Z
01-19-2016, 06:50 AM
I don't like Newark for this for a variety of reasons. Here's how I'd approach this:

1. Fly into JFK. He can figure they'll track this eventually.

2. Use Uber for what he describes when he sets it up as a local haul. When the Uber driver picks him up, he can explain to the driver that something came up and he needs to go to Washington DC. This can't be tracked by the Feds unless the driver comes forward. Trail is broken. Uber driver can be convinced by a few hundred dollar bills. Have him dropped at a motel.


Jim, Uber hadn't yet expanded into NYC in 2009. But if he knew where to look, independent livery cabs would be a good option. If the destination was DC/Philly/Boston, Chinatown buses were also possible. Back then there were many coach lines and chances of restless coach drivers bothering to check IDs would be zero. But I have never taken one of these.

cornflake
01-19-2016, 06:59 AM
Car rental places at JFK almost definitely have cameras aimed at the customers. Easy to run the photos when you know when he arrived in the US. My guess is JFK is one of the most security conscious airports in the world, and NYC is definitely one of the most security conscious cities.

In the US, you want to use our distance to your advantage. Police tend to draw a circle around something. NYC has an incredible amount of resources. Checking all the car rental places within a hundred miles is not that difficult for NYC.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

He doesn't need a car rental place anyplace. This is my issue. He needs a Zipcard, or any one of the other similar companies. He can get in a car parked in a lot at JFK, or in a garage or lot pretty much anyplace in NYC and go. No interaction required.

be frank
01-19-2016, 07:14 AM
I didn't know any buses to airports ran outside Grand Central (assuming that does); I'd have thought Penn too. I'm in NYC too.


Haven't read the whole thread, so apologies if this has already been covered, but every time I've been to NYC (as a tourist), the airport shuttles have dropped us/collected us from Grand Central, not Penn :)

ETA: And from memory they're pretty anonymous - no ID checks, just booked under a name which got crossed off a list. And once I think we simply rocked up without booking it first.

jclarkdawe
01-19-2016, 07:17 AM
Bing -- Thank you for reminding me how new Uber is.

I'd go with the Chinatown buses. Cheap, and most weren't very legal. Even if the driver is checking licenses, a hundred bucks would cause the driver vision problems. And they were known for not talking to the police. Of course, when you consider that the buses never passed safety inspections and some of the drivers got nailed for not having the correct license.

I like the Chinatown bus more and more. White man on the bus is unusual, but no one on those buses tend to talk to authorities. I think it ended in DC near the old Greyhound station on First Street NE. (It moved in 2012.) The Greyhound station was something else. But I think there was a car rental place in the station. I can't imagine it wasn't at some level dishonest. My guess is you could probably bribe the clerk for a car with a marginal license or credit card.

Here's what one of the cabbies said when Greyhound was moving: “It’s better than HBO in here,” said Thomas Cambron, 59, who has been driving a cab for three decades. “Saw a couple of shootings. Undercover police. Guns. Fights. Hustlers. Gypsies.”

The other possibility is Rideshare on Craig's List, or something similar. (I'm assuming reasonable computer skills and knowledge of the US by the bad guy.)

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

cornflake
01-19-2016, 07:38 AM
Non-chinese on the Chinatown buses is utterly commonplace. At least one and I think two companies were shut down a couple of years ago though, and I think you have to pay online - you don't just hand them $1.

frank - Ah, thanks for the info. I've never taken an airport shuttle in; Big Blue is as close as I've come, and they take you where you're going.

Albedo
01-19-2016, 07:56 AM
I paid cash for a bus from Newark to Port Authority Bus Terminal, about 25 mins. Possibly the easiest transfer I've had in any city anywhere. It was the middle of the night though.

I think this is a case of "there are eight million ways to get from the airport to Midtown in the naked city".

jclarkdawe
01-19-2016, 08:20 AM
Non-chinese on the Chinatown buses is utterly commonplace. I'm trying to think when that changed over. For years, it was nearly all Chinese at the Boston end.

At least one and I think two companies were shut down a couple of years ago though, Two were shut down in the last couple of years. But the buses were failing safety checks when they got pulled over in Connecticut and Maryland (truck inspection locations). And you need a CDL-C with air brake endorsement to drive a bus, and some of their drivers didn't have what they needed. Logs were questionable.

and I think you have to pay online - you don't just hand them $1. I think that's in the last couple of years. It used to be that a line would form and then the bus would show up at South Station. I'm not sure they were announced. But no ticket office, no infrastructure, just a bus showing up.



Anybody who knew anything about the industry knew how they were only charging a buck a ride. I remember walking by one of their buses and noticing that they needed at least two new tires. But for disappearing, they were great.

Jim

Bing Z
01-19-2016, 09:55 AM
Non-chinese on the Chinatown buses is utterly commonplace. At least one and I think two companies were shut down a couple of years ago though, and I think you have to pay online - you don't just hand them $1.

According to this article (http://www.fastcompany.com/1839333/business-lessons-chinatown-buses), "on May 29 [2012], when federal authorities shuttered 26 of the bus firms..."

I could imagine all sorts of crazy happenings in 2009. And unless you write that some of those drivers were ISIS founders posing as aliens, chances are nobody can/will challenge the authenticity of the tales.

Los Pollos Hermanos
01-24-2016, 03:48 PM
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you all - life has been rather busy in and out of work.

Regardless of how he obtains the car, I need him to end up in Akron the next day (I used to work with a guy who's originally from Ohio and I promised him I'd include his home state in the story - Akron is a convenient stop en route to the bolthole). He doesn't stay there long and he's in the suburbs so I can be suitably generic for someone who's never been to Ohio, let alone Akron (Streetview was helpful).

The car - whatever its origin - needs to have a tracking device in it. That's why I went for rental car. However, I'm now leaning towards stolen car (from the 'burbs) which he wouldn't expect to have a tracking device on it. Maybe an older model. I'm thinking paranoid owner who slapped a tracker under the wheel rim? What's the range of those things?

How to get hold of the car's keys is now the issue here. Someone paranoid enough to put a tracker on an old car wouldn't leave their keys in the front door or on a table/hook near the door though. Hmmm...

jclarkdawe
01-24-2016, 04:45 PM
LoJack - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LoJack)
Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Bing Z
01-24-2016, 05:12 PM
You don't necessarily need an automobile tracking device. Dumb owners or passengers often leave their cell phones in cars (I'm one of them ^_^). I've even found a phone in a dealer's loaner car. With this your baddie can steal a 1976 vintage w/o addons and still be tracked.

Los Pollos Hermanos
01-24-2016, 05:58 PM
Luvvly jubbly! I'd thought of the cell phone thing, but decided that Paranoid Car Owner would probably also take that inside.

The LoJack would work AND coverage includes Summit County, Ohio - of which Akron is the county seat. Good job he's dumping the car, as his bolthole's county is also covered!

Just wondering how he can get his grubby paws on the car keys now.

All this will only be mentioned in passing. The scene starts with him driving along I-78 (leading to I-76). He's not going via I-80 as it's the most direct route (~40 miles and 45 minutes shorter) and he's trying to ensure he outfoxes The Law. In theory, he could steal the car just after midnight, get the hell out of Dodge* and arrive in Akron before breakfast - and before Paranoid Car Owner realises their motor has been nicked.

I do like it when a plan begins to come together - many thanks! :D

* I've been to Dodge City - had to use that little saying before setting off for Oklahoma.

UPDATE: I'm not that familiar with the NYC area. I've been to Manhattan and that's it. Assuming he gets a cab to Grand Central, where could he then get a late bus/subway to, from where he could steal a car? I need a suburb with relatively few surveillance cameras and preferably at "the Ohio end of town". I've looked at Google Maps and Brooklyn fits the bill location-wise. Sunset Park is served by the previously suggested Dollar Vans due to a relatively large Chinese population. Hmmm... I see where this is going... thinking aloud...

1). Would he be able to get a Dollar Van from near Grand Central to Sunset Park circa midnight?
2). Would it be "easier" to steal a car from Sunset Park (compared to Manhattan)?

Big Hmmm...

benbenberi
01-24-2016, 07:34 PM
From Grand Central he could easily take a subway (4 or 5) or MetroNorth (Harlem or Hudson line) to the Bronx or one of the close-in Westchester burbs, where there will be plenty of cars parked on the streets. Not sure what you mean by "the Ohio end of town" -- Ohio is west of Manhattan, Brooklyn east, so going to Brooklyn puts you further, not just from Ohio, but also from all the highways that go to Ohio.

Alternatively, let him hike a few blocks cross-town to Penn Station and take NJ Transit to Newark (town, not airport) or thereabouts -- plenty of cars to steal there, and it's right on I-78 for the getaway.

Los Pollos Hermanos
01-24-2016, 07:58 PM
"The Ohio end of town" is my slightly flippant way of referring to the southern-ish end of New York. ;) I was going to have him escape via Newark, but the dollar vans were mentioned earlier in the thread and as they're pretty much anonymous it would be a good way of evading The Law for a bit longer.

The car he steals will be tracked to Akron via a LoJack, and I also like the earlier idea about him missing wiping the button that moves the side mirrors. Forensics find his prints and BOOM! - the pursuit is back on track(ish).

To go from Sunset Park to Akron via I-287, I-78 and I-76 is only 50 minutes slower than Newark to Akron and, not being the fastest/most direct route, fits with his previous journeys.

Still not sure how he's going to get the car keys though!

AND: What would be a 10-12 year old (so 1997-1999) popular/unremarkable car he could steal?

Big thanks...

cornflake
01-24-2016, 08:47 PM
Dollar vans are more an outer-borough thing.

Why doesn't he just get a zip?? They're trackable, they're all over the city and JFK...

King Neptune
01-25-2016, 12:11 AM
The car - whatever its origin - needs to have a tracking device in it. That's why I went for rental car. However, I'm now leaning towards stolen car (from the 'burbs) which he wouldn't expect to have a tracking device on it. Maybe an older model. I'm thinking paranoid owner who slapped a tracker under the wheel rim? What's the range of those things?

Lo jack is a good suggestion.


How to get hold of the car's keys is now the issue here. Someone paranoid enough to put a tracker on an old car wouldn't leave their keys in the front door or on a table/hook near the door though. Hmmm...

It isn't that he is paranoid. He just got talked into buying Lo jack. Could it be that he does some work on his own car? Maybe he just replaced the spark plugs, and was going to go somewhere as soon as he washes the grease off his hands, so the keys are in the ignition lock, and the car is right there in the driveway, so your guy walks up, gets in, starts the car, and drives off. Someone will quickly know that the car was stolen, and it has a tracking devoice, so you can have hime causght as soon as you wish, or he can drive a few hundred miles before he get nailed.

benbenberi
01-25-2016, 05:40 AM
If it's a recent vintage car with a keyless ignition... all you need to turn it on is the fob in the car & you push a button. When you park your car at a garage or valet-parking lot -- which is the vast majority of off-street public parking in NYC -- you have to leave the fob in the car so they can run it, but you don't need to actually do anything with the key when you get it back (i.e you don't have to put it in the ignition, or take it out again). Once you get home, if you're in the habit of keeping the key in a pocket or bag it's easy to forget that the fob isn't still in your bag & leave it again still in the car. And the door won't be locked. Perfect for the opportunistic car thief.

Los Pollos Hermanos
01-31-2016, 03:55 AM
Thrashed out the details of how he gets his grubby paws on an older car, which will require some minor tweaking (not of the Pinkman variety) in the next few chapters. No hotwiring, no dramatic car jacking... just being in the right place at the right time.

Well, it wasn't really the right time for "the body in the trunk". Never mind, eh.

*******************************

So... what was a Brooklyn-based old bloke's ten-year-old automobile of choice in 2009??? ;)

King Neptune
01-31-2016, 05:23 AM
Thrashed out the details of how he gets his grubby paws on an older car, which will require some minor tweaking (not of the Pinkman variety) in the next few chapters. No hotwiring, no dramatic car jacking... just being in the right place at the right time.

Well, it wasn't really the right time for "the body in the trunk". Never mind, eh.

*******************************

So... what was a Brooklyn-based old bloke's ten-year-old automobile of choice in 2009??? ;)

What kind of a car do you want hime to get? Anything would be available. What size range? Compact, mid or full sized? Domestic or Japanese?

Bing Z
01-31-2016, 07:37 AM
According to this NYT article (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/12/upshot/heres-why-stealing-cars-went-out-of-fashion.html), Honda Accord (pre 1998) and Honda Civic (pre 2001).

But frankly, a high-end criminal with all sorts of fake IDs and financial resources scouting the streets (maybe even seedy neighborhoods) for an old car to steal? Probably with luggage to care about, too? Isn't it like asking for cops or street gangs to check him out? Why can't he simply use fakes to rent a car, then use skill or some sort of high tech tools to disable the rental car's tracking device/GPS? If you need unbeknownst tracking, a leftover cell phone from someone unwilling to report (eg cheating husband) will do. And in fact, why do you need tracking? He parks the car at some remote parking lot in Ohio or wherever, and later mugging or gang shooting happens and cops will naturally look at a parked car with out-of-state or no license plate.

jclarkdawe
01-31-2016, 08:43 AM
I'd take the van to the long-term parking and then steal a car from there.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Los Pollos Hermanos
01-31-2016, 04:57 PM
Car: Very average. Average size, average specifications... not fussy about whether it's an American make or a Japanese make. I'd ruled out German because apart from in SoCal I didn't see a glut of those on the road.

A 1997 Honda Accord:
http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2008/01/04/18/25/1997_honda_accord_4_dr_lx_sedan-pic-53007-640x480.jpeg
Maybe in a nice shade of beige! That'll do the job nicely.

Mr Bad Guy isn't up on the high tech stuff, the passorts and other fake ID are obtained because he has the money to buy them AND buy silence.

He doesn't realise there's a LoJack attached to the vehicle, but he'll have dumped it before Brooklyn Old Bloke's son realises his dad is missing when he calls in on him a couple of days later...