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Subway (mass transit) systems

Subway (mass transit) systems

Old Dec 6, 19, 11:00 pm
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PDX's MAX light rail station is about 150 feet from one of the AS carousels; about the easiest public transit system in the USA for a traveler to access. On the other hand, the light rail station that serves SEA is probably 1/4 mile from the terminal and requires walking through a parking structure.

I think my favorite transit system in North America is Vancouver, BC, which features the driverless SkyTrain. If you have the time you can take public transit to Victoria via the wonderful BC Ferries and connecting buses at Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay or as far east as Chilliwack and nearby Harrison Hot Springs by bus.

I loved the MTR system in Hong Kong and still have my Octopus Card.

Tokyo has probably the most extensive rapid transit rail system, even over London, Paris and New York.

I am always amazed at the public transit networks in German speaking cities such as Munich, Frankfurt and Vienna. I was in Basel earlier this week and loved the trams there; Bern has both trams and electric buses (overhead catenary, like San Francisco and Seattle) which seemingly go everywhere in the Bern region. Budapest is another place with a great tram network and a number of subway lines.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 12:03 am
  #17  
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AFIK, Georgetown was excluded because the local residents didn't want subway service. The same goes for JHU in Baltimore.

My DC v Shanghai comparison was a bit unfair, now that I think about it; while Beltway traffic might suggest otherwise, Shanghai's commuter population is an order of magnitude greater than DC's --> 3 minute intervals make sense.

Switching subtopics, I would have rated HK #1 if we started this thread 20 years ago. BUT, the HK Station to Island Line (Central) transfer is really bad (i.e. making people tote their luggage 500 meters should be out of bounds).
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Old Dec 7, 19, 12:43 am
  #18  
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Switching subtopics, I would have rated HK #1 if we started this thread 20 years ago. BUT, the HK Station to Island Line (Central) transfer is really bad (i.e. making people tote their luggage 500 meters should be out of bounds).
It's not the walk that kills (replace your luggage if yes).

It's getting into suburban trains with checked baggage.

Think the idea is to can from airport express
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Old Dec 7, 19, 12:59 am
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by Toshbaf View Post
I like:
New York. They have express trains that bypass stations. Most subway systems don't have this. On the other hand, New York's subway looks very old.
Paris RER banlieu system.
Was stuck on a TGV train who stopped for 30 minutes unknown reason in the middle of nowhere underway to Paris Nord.
I had to catch a plane at CDG.
First RER available was a direct train to CDG, took some 15 minutes, then needed a transit bus to the correct CDG terminal.
Check in rows were empty, I was last to check in.
No problem they said at check in, we know about the TGV system down and waited for you, lucky me...
I like Paris Metro most, love Montreal and hate Bangkok with is incompatible overloaded two lines, ordering more carriages 5 years too late....
Montreal you can ride the whole system at a single price.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 2:51 am
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I probably sound insane but I love Tokyo's subway/private train system.

Suica cards now can be loaded to Apple Pay and loaded with a credit card.

Google Maps has perfect directions and everyone is so polite and orderly.

If you're a tourist, you almost never travel in morning peak so you frequently get a seat.

People are used to luggage and they have Express trains.

I also like Vancouver's Skytrain system
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Old Dec 7, 19, 3:11 am
  #21  
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I sort of collect top up cards for metro/mass transit systems in cities I have been to. I always try the metro in cities I go to that have one.
My favorites:
- Tokyo: absolutely insane in the level of precision, user friendliness, timing and coverage of the city. I could ride it for days
- Seoul: covers so much of the city, you are always near a station and there is always a station where you want to go
- Paris: same as Seoul
- Hong Kong: very practical, works wells, clean, efficient
- Singapore: same
- Lisbon: I like the line name scheming and logo, find it somewhat relaxing

The worst:
- Shanghai: very disappointing for an Asia subway: not clean, not very user friendly, rude locals
- Xi'an: same as Shanghai
- Lyon: very uncomfortable seats
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Old Dec 7, 19, 4:53 am
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Agree about New York's express system. Brilliant innovation that, despite its age, doesn't seem to have been replicated anywhere.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 5:56 am
  #23  
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I am happy to play as urban transit is a passion of mine.

What is your favorite subway system, and why?
Common answer, but it's mine: London, for the wayfinding / navigation / mapping aspects. No other system on earth did as much trailblazing wayfinding work, starting with the Beck map in 1933. Beck's amazing orienteering insight was that it did not matter where the stations and lines were in real life -- only in relation to one another. This led ironically to both distortions (stations are sometimes much closer to / farther from one another than they seem on the map, etc.) and clarity, but much more clarity. For nearly 100 years people have been navigating London with the Tube map, not the street map, as primary mental reference -- visitors and natives alike. I don't think there is another city on earth where this is true. The Beck-originated map is one of the 20th century's major works of influential information design. Today's version is close to saturated with data, but I can still look at it for hours.

What are some of the most enormous subway stations that you know of? How do you deal with them.
Times Square and 14th Street in New York are incredible. So are Chatelet-Les Halles in Paris and, obviously, Shibuya in Tokyo, where I got lost. I deal with them via trial and error, and the exploring-deciphering part pleases me as long as I am not running for a plane. Note I have never gotten lost in London!

What is your favorite airport for subway access to the downtown area it serves?
It is hard to beat DCA. A two-minute walk to the Metro station, then a < 10 minute ride across the river, and you're there in record time for $2 or $3. Spoils you for anything else. (Note that the Washington Metro system is sort of falling apart owing to neglected maintenance and falling ridership, and last trains depart DCA before 1100p some nights, but the airport link is a bright spot.)

Do you have any general tips to offer on the systems you know best?
Stand right, walk left. And stay away from Covent Garden station -- it is lifts-only and always mobbed by tourists, and you can walk there from Leicester Square in four minutes.

What's your protocol for identifying optimal station exits?
Follow the brisk-walking locals -- they know where they're going.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 6:04 am
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by mecabq View Post
Agree about New York's express system. Brilliant innovation that, despite its age, doesn't seem to have been replicated anywhere.
That's why it's one of the only, if not the only, subway system that runs 24/7.

I'm sure I have many more systems to try but out of the below systems I've been on, Istanbul, Lisbon , Paris, Singapore, HK, Chicago, Copenhagen I think have an ease of access between the international airport and the main tourist areas . The other are convenient mostly for traveling in the main tourist/central areas, I think.

Istanbul, Paris, Mumbai, Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong, Chicago, Washington D.C., Montreal, Copenhagen, Sydney, Bucharest, Lisbon
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Old Dec 7, 19, 6:19 am
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I love the U1 line in Berlin. Uhlandstrasse Station is old and the cars are old but the entire thing has so much personality. The seats have little brandenburg gate patterns on them.

My favorite Sbahn station in Berlin is Hackescher Markt. The wooden ceiling, the light fixtures are industrial retro, the filigreed iron posts are beautiful. I have just stared at that station's architecture.

The M1 line in Budapest is one of the oldest existing lines in Europe. It is still very useful, but the stations are charming, with wooden cabinets, scroll work, etc. The trains themselves are throwbacks with interesting lighting inside and manual doors that are fun to open.

The Strassenbahn in Vienna has beautiful signage and some retro trams that wind around the old town.

The Yurikamome Line in Tokyo that goes over the Rainbow Bridge and onto Odaiba. I sat in the front car and the view is amazing as you do a loop and then over the bridge and through the Odaiba modern buildings.

The Metro signs in Paris are in a league of their own. Same with London for the Tube signs and logos.

Some of DC's stations are wonderful architecture. I have only seen pictures of some of the wonderful stations in Russia and former Soviet states.

Miami's Metrorail when you zoom over Miami River at night and all the buildings are lit up for Christmas.

I might be a little obsessed with metros.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 6:20 am
  #26  
 
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Old Dec 7, 19, 7:10 am
  #27  
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I too loved the London and paris subways but I almost always was Zone 1 equivalent - only a handful of times did I go zone 2 when in London. But I also love the buses in both cities just to see the city. I used to use London Underground with luggage in the 90s until I switched to the heathrow express!
fun read about the becks map - I just didn’t know!
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Old Dec 7, 19, 7:21 am
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cool thread

I (too) am a big pubic transit rider while I am travelling - so I am happy to contribute my two cents worth:
What is your favorite subway system, and why?
I agree that DC has a good subway system - but - what are the key criteria? IMO, airport access and reach are essential. From this perspective, IAD is weak. My personal favourites:
- Lisbon;
- Singapore;
- Kuala Lumpur.
While I agree that PVG has subway access, I found it very difficult to reach my destination in Shanghai, due to connections and short turns.
What are some of the most enormous subway stations that you know of? How do you deal with them.
Obviousy, this is reason to avoid Shanghai's. Also, London. Is there a workaround? IMO, not really.
There is a workaround @ JFK esp if you want to go to The Bronx or Metro North.
What is your favorite airport for subway access to the downtown area it serves?
San Diego
Do you have any general tips to offer on the systems you know best?
I know Toronto & Montreal the best. My tip is to familiarize yourself with the pubic transit buses in both cities as they are the key to cheap transit to the CBD & beyond.
What's your protocol for identifying optimal station exits?
Google Maps is good. I also use the Trip Planner feature.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 8:59 am
  #29  
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I want to defend Shanghai a little bit because they have managed to create the world's largest subway network during the span of the last 20 years:
-Line 10 offers you a chance of getting a seat
-try to focus on single line trips
-I can only endorse SHA if Line 10 works for you; Line 2 is not cool
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Old Dec 7, 19, 9:31 am
  #30  
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I actually used Maglev, then line 2 and finally line 9 to get between the airport and my hotel and found this OK
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