Subways

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Gillette, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. Gillette

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    I think I'm in love with subway transit.

    Every time I ride a subway train I get a giddy "small town girl in the big city" feeling (you might guess that Nova Scotia lacks a subway system). I've only had opportunity to ride four different systems but each time I've loved it.

    Toronto - My first. It was just what I expected a subway to be. A little grey, bit of a seedy feel, lurching with the motion of the train, the rattle of the tracks. I absolutely loved it.

    Athens - So not what I expected! Huge bright stations lined with marble and archaeological finds on display in situ! Mini underground museums, hot damn!
    The trains themselves were spacious and bright the ride both super fast and very smooth. It felt like I was on a lateral moving elevator. And what's this? An honour system for ticket purchases? No wicket, no gates, just purchase your ticket and ride, we trust you. My last night in Athens I ran out of tickets and Euros, it was just one stop, what could it hurt? Ding! 25.00 Euro fine. Apparently transit cops can home in on your conscience. I should have known this was god's own transit system. Drat.

    Rome - Kiosks in the stations, ok, but an underground mall in the terminal? WTF?
    Poor little tourist girl attracted a bit of attention on the platform when she nearly spit her drink out as the subway arrived. There was no original paint to be seen for the graffiti covering it (gosh I thought that passage was long, am I in New York?). The attention turned to worried and disdainful looks as my chuckles turned to unabated laughter at being smooshed in with everyone else so tightly I could barely breathe. It was probably only hilarious to me because I don't have to ride it everyday. Rick Steeves even says not to ride the subway during rush hour because of this, but I just had to. Took pics, too.

    Barcelona - Stations typical, 2.5 on the seedy scale. Automated ticket machines have option for English transactions, Thank You! Trip as follows.

    Validate ticket, through the gate, all I need it a transit map, ohh, there's one. On the other side of the gate. Right. I'll just go out and go through again. Ticket rejected. Shit, fuck, damn! The machine thinks the ticket's been passed through to a second person. Snarl menacingly at inanimate machine and purchase another ticket, through gate WITH map and down to the platform. There's a countdown timer for the arrival of the next train, very nice. The train arrives and as the masses pour out we bunch up near the doors to board.

    A woman next to me shouts and I think it's because a young man has insinuated himself between us pushing her further from the train so with the back of my arm I push him back to make room for her. She's pointing at my purse then at him and makes a dipping/grabbing gesture. Oh really! I turn to see him now walking briskly away from the train not interested in transit at all. My purse is still zippered and the open exterior pockets were padded with decoy folded paper ( I was dissuaded from using the leather upholstered mousetrap I'd made to look like a wallet), I can check on the train but if I'm wrong it's too late. So...

    I break a nail grabbing him from behind and spinning him to face me as I feel the outside of his bag for anything of similar size and weight to what I was carrying. He looks peeved but not surprised. Nothing. I turn back to the train and see other guys on the platform objecting to my actions (do they work in groups?) and the doors starting to close. Yeah...being left on a now empty platform with only pickpockets, one of whom I just accosted...not a good plan. Dash the ten steps to the train, catch the doors while their six inches apart but I can't squeeze through. They close further and I jam my knee in (surely there's some kind of safety feature) fight with the doors continues 'til I'm half in half out and now I imagine I can feel the train starting to move, though it probably isn't, thinking If I only lose the left hand side of my body I'll be all right:rolleyes:. With my arse in the door I've got enough leverage to shove them open and get completely inside and let them close. The train leaves the platform and I've had my own little ten second action scene. Fun.

    The trains in Barcelona also have maps that light up as you near each station so you can see where on the line you are and what station you're approaching. Smart. I look up the car to see the train bending. Bending? Instead of the individual cars with doors between they're joined into one continuous articulated serpent. I can see it bending around the curves!
    Wicked cool. More pics taken, more people convinced I'm a loon.

    I love subways!!!

    What subway systems have you ridden?
    Which do you love or hate? Why?
    Anecdotes?
     
  2. HiddenLacey

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    Laugh at me Gillette, I've never even seen a subway :)
     
  3. scottredleter

    scottredleter New Member

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    I love subways too. They always turn me on. I've never had the guts, but I'd like to travel them late at night and see what kind of sexual encounters I can find.
     
  4. TomCat84

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    San Diego has a moderately extensive light rail system- but it's almost all at-grade or above ground. I like it- even though I think the Downtown section needs to be buried- I sat through an entire green light cycle at an intersection because a stopped light rail car was blocking my way.

    I've been on the subway systems in L.A., Chicago (many parts of the El line are underground), and New York. Pretty nifty
     
  5. nudeyorker

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    I can't say I love the subway, but it's the most efficient way to get around most cities.
    I have been on the NYC subway obviously.
    Washington DC, Toronto, London, Paris and Tokyo. I think I like Tokyo's system the best. Nice cars and clean platforms and stations.
    The only cute story I really have is I met Bernadette Peters riding the NY subway once.
     
  6. Endued

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    I generally go for a footlong spicy Italian with all the salad and a bit of mayo.
     
  7. Bbucko

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    I'm such a booster of rapid transit that, in some quarters at least, I'm considered something of a crank on the subject. I bought my first car when I was 38 and hated it, though it was necessary for work so I bit the bullet.

    Until 1999 I'd never lived further than two tenths of a mile from a subway station, whether it was in Boston, New York or Paris, when, in that year, I moved to New Haven, CT for a job. One of my first conversations with a customer there was her asking me what I missed most about Boston; she must have assumed that I was going to mention nightlife or some museum or great shopping, because when I replied "the subway" she looked at me as if I'd just handed her a plate of dog shit. :rolleyes:

    My favorite response to a tourist in Boston's question about how long it would take to get anywhere (like Fenway Park or Cheers) was "It's a twenty-minute walk, a ten-minute ride on the subway or an hour's drive, presuming that you'll eventually find a parking spot." A car in downtown Boston or in most of its neighborhoods is not a symbol of freedom. It's a dreadfully expensive and cumbersome responsibility.

    Living car-free has many positive side effects. You walk much more, so you get great exercise; you tend to buy food every day (or at least several times per week), so you eat healthier, fresher foods; you see things from a completely different perspective on foot rather than speeding by and minor details hold your interest and you create unique landmarks and associations; socially, you interact with a much more diverse spectrum of folk on the subway than is possible when everyone's in their own cars, even if it's only very casual. Personally I believe that it encourages courtesy and better social graces though I'm sure many would disagree with me on this point.

    When I rode the subway to work I read two newspapers every day, plus Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Details, Entertainment Weekly and The New Yorker just to name a few of the magazines I used to follow so avidly. I used to love newsstands, but in the last few years the only place I've even seen one was at an airport and it was pretty lame.

    The best subway system I've ever ridden was the Paris Metro: it's really quick with trains coming every five minutes or so. New York's subway confused me at first (its maps are needlessly complicated) and the service is lopsided, with the west side of Manhattan so much better served than the east and few cross-town trains. Madrid's subway was clean and easy to figure out; I remember Barcelona's subway as pretty shabby, but I haven't ridden it since before the Olympics. Toronto and Montreal are both remembered as convenient and simple to figure out. Though it's not underground, the transit in Portland, OR amazed me as being so comprehensive for such a relatively smallish city; those folks are really committed to their LRVs.

    Though I'm generally really positive about zoning as an example of beneficent governmental regulation of private property, it's also responsible for the sprawl and wasteful land use that makes public transit inefficient and impractical for much of the country. Subways and the like only really work with the kind of urban density that is outlawed by zoning regulations; hopefully that'll change, at least in some places, as people are beginning to see the advantages of living car-free (if only part-time for leisure, etc). Richard Florida's one of my heroes in this regard: this article's a good place to start in learning more about his theories about living car-free.
     
  8. eurotop40

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    Madrid has a huge one. Moscow is very sophisticated. German cities have a great combination of subway (U-Bahn) and cityrail (S-Bahn).
    I love subways too...
     
  9. crescendo69

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    I'm over Subways; it's Quizzno's for me.:biggrin1:

    On my 1st NY trip, I went to a "Mostly Mozart" chamber concert at an art museum, and rode the subway afterwards. Three guys at the concert also got on, and it turned out they were also from my hometown in Tennessee.
     
  10. D_Maurice Mountlilly

    D_Maurice Mountlilly Account Disabled

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    don't ride the ones here in philly...cause you will lose that love faster than i lost my fiance after her male-stripper party! lol!!
     
  11. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

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    I hate every subway and metro and underground I've ever been on, which is quite a few, except the Paris Metro and the Tokyo underground.
     
  12. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    I like subways, though, as I get older, they don't turn my crank quite as they once did.
    The one I know best is Toronto's and it seems to me pretty efficient.
    The quietest of all was Montreal's, with its subway cars rolling along with catlike silence on rubber wheels.
    I liked the ones in London and Paris, don't know if I actually went on the one in Rome, and I'm pretty sure I missed Barcelona's altogether.
    New York's baffled me, but I only spent a couple of days riding, not enough to grasp the system's layout.
    Like Bbucko, I think the subway, for urban transportation, has the car totally beat.
     
  13. D_Relentless Original

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    Love the rush and especially love the smell (not piss) btw.
     
  14. DaveyR

    DaveyR Retired Moderator
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    Your post reminded me. I just returned to the North East after 20 years away. I was looking forward to travelling on the Tyneside metro system again but was really disappointed. It's looking really tired and stinks of piss. The system is only 30 years old too. :mad:

    I've used the London, Paris and New York systems many times. The London network especially amazes me. The amount of different lines at different levels and complexity of the system boggles my mind.

    Despite being the 3rd oldest underground system in the World not many people know that Glasgow has a Subway. It is only one tunnel laid out in a large circle with trains in both directions. It takes in the City Centre, The West End and part of the South Side. The trains are very small and you feel like you need to "duck" your head when getting aboard. There is always a "burning metal" smell on the Glasgow underground. I loved the Glasgow system when I lived there. I could drive to work and it would take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. When the weather was dry I would walk which was just under 15 minutes.If I was in a hurry or it was raining it was one stop on the underground and less then 5 minutes door to door. :wink:
     
  15. lopo2000

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