joy magnetism: Stand clear of the closing doors, mind the gap, and step back to allow passengers to board




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Friday, December 26, 2008

Stand clear of the closing doors, mind the gap, and step back to allow passengers to board

Magnet #308 - Good service on all lines

Some observations noted, after having ridden the transit systems of three major cities (New York, London, and Washington, DC) in the last week.

Best transit map design: New York. They're big, they're pretty, they're associated with an actual city map. The others are pretty, sure enough, but doesn't really give you enough geographical orientation.

Best schedules and/or service announcements: Tie between Washington and London. At least you know when/if a train is coming before a garbled message comes on.

Cleanest trains: London

Cleanest buses: London, by default. I'm told only tourists ride them there, but they rock. I've never ridden in Washington, and I once saw a roach on one in New York.

Smallest trains: London. So tiny. Like how can they fit people in there?

Biggest trains: Washington. Even so, I keep bumping the bottom of my thigh against the hard armrest. Ouchie!

Cleanest train stations: Washington

Prettiest train stations: Draw between New York and London. And by that, I mean the tilework, the public art and sometimes train station design. (Actually, as far as coolest train stations, it really is a draw if you compare New York's Grand Central with something like London's Paddington or Canary Wharf.)

Grossest train tracks: New York. Trust me, from firsthand knowledge do I know that NYC MTA track grime - does not come off your skin easily.

Worst to travel with luggage: New York. (Or, London, if you're coming in/out through Heathrow, staying off the Picadilly line, at a station with lifts to the street.) Though, what the heck is up with no lifts to Gatwick Express at Victoria station in London?

Best to travel with luggage: Washington. God bless the escalators.

Scariest escalators: A draw, depending on the station. And the angle of descent. Or ascent, come to think.

Nicest escalators: London. The adspace alone is dizzying. Washington tries, but it's really...sorta concrete.

Best buses: London. I know they're mostly for tourists, but I love them mostly cuz they're double-deckers, and how much does it rock to sit up top.

Prettiest buses: London. They've got a new bus design winner, so they may get even prettier!

Nicest staff: London. I've never seen a DC transit worker on the platform. And New York can be a little short if you approach them wrong.

Best commuters: Washington. New Yorkers can be downright mean, but Londoners are a bit passive-aggressive. And they don't say excuse me.

And the grand prize for best transit system: Tie between New York and London. You don't have to walk too far to the next station - so it's function over form for both cities.

Did I miss anything?
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4 comments:

Erika said...

My belief is that, if you can master the NYC subway system, you can go anywhere in the world.

Nice post!

joy said...

Thanks. I didn't really think about the hardest subway to nav. Hmmm. Between the three, I'm almost thinking it's really Washington. But, that's probably only because I pay the least attention there.

Julie said...

you should go to the dupont circle and rosslyn stations in dc just to see the scariest escalators. well... the rosslyn one is worse... it's angled a lot and very very long. then imagine having to walk up it because the escalator broke while i was on it and running to an interview. jerks.

joy said...

Heh, that's like my worst nightmare, being at the bottom of a very long escalator, and having to walk up. ugh.