Saturday, October 31, 2009

New York Subway – the way to no hope

Having just moved from London to NY, let me tell you that while New Yorkers love to complain about their Subway, taking the subway here is a leisure ride in comparison to what the London commuters have to suffer every day.

At least when you take the subway in NY, you hope that you'll eventually find yourself at your destination. When you take the Tube (this is what in London they call their subway) you don’t.

The air-conditionless experience of the steaming soup of bodies, which in the summer often boils at over 100 degrees, can only be compared to an overcrowded Turkish bath before anyone has taken a shower. And the physical closeness does not add to the feeling of intimacy or friendliness. London underground is a violent place, in which beating and stabbing are commonplace.

So I wonder what Jay Walder – the new chairman of the NY subway, who until recently managed the London underground – meant when he said that "New Yorkers should be able to expect the same type of customer experience riders enjoy in London.” Because while there are still a few things we may want to learn from the English, running trains is clearly not one of them.

A joy ride in the London Tube

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