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Subway (mass transit) systems

Subway (mass transit) systems

Old Dec 7, 19, 11:59 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by fransknorge View Post
Lyon: very uncomfortable seats
Funnily enough, I just got off a Lyon metro five minutes ago. Can't say I found the seat uncomfortable. :-)
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Old Dec 7, 19, 12:26 pm
  #32  
 
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My three favourites, in alphabetical order, are Hong Kong, London and Paris. My particular dislikes are New York (efficient but dirty and horrible) and San Francisco (badly maintained and filthy).

Obviously a subway system has to get the basics right (speed, connectivity, adequate comfort, convenience etc.) but increasingly I find ease of payment really becomes important. Here London is streets ahead (completely contactless throughout the system, including bus with fare breaks and caps fully integrated), Hong Kong is good but you have to rely on Octopus and busses are different. Paris has fallen behind with the Metro, bus and RER all on different systems.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 5:04 pm
  #33  
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I'd say the largest subway station in the world is the one that is also a train station, the busiest train station in the world. Of course it's Shinjuku station in Tokyo. The underground passages extend from the Shinjuku Washington Hotel on the west side to Shinjuku san=chome station on the east side, a distance that surely approaches 4 km. The station includes 3 different rail companies (4, if you include the nearby Seibu Shinjuku station) and 3 subway lines (also 4 if you include walking underground to access the Fukutoshin line). There's also a long distance bus station that is part of the structure.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 5:12 pm
  #34  
 
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St. Petersburg

Cool thread. For deep metro stations, a shout-out to St. Petersburg (passing under the Neva).
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Old Dec 8, 19, 4:01 am
  #35  
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For large metro station I usually manage well enough with the signage. I usually study a bit before to know which exit to take. I of course got lost a couple of times in Shinjuku (never People Square or Ch telet though).
Based on how my travel companions behave in subway, it seems I have good skills at navigating unknown subway and stations by very quickly looking at maps and signage.
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Old Dec 8, 19, 4:49 am
  #36  
 
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fact checking Santiago, Chile

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.

Santiago de Chile. Very smooth ride on rubber tires but not the only subway with rubber tires (Paris, Montreal, Mexico City, and others have it, too)
While I am generally loathe to debate others FT, this comment requires a reply. 80 of the 136 metro stations in Santiago were damaged in the riots last month. The videos show the destruction as horrible and senseless. I have no idea how many are operational but its not business as usual for the metro in the Chilean capital.
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Old Dec 8, 19, 9:22 am
  #37  
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I find the London Underground and Chicago's EL very easy to understand and great coverage. I wish the tube cars were cooler in the summer.

I find thy NYC subway difficult to understand and intimidating (not unlike my ex).
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Old Dec 8, 19, 9:30 am
  #38  
 
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
Funnily enough, I just got off a Lyon metro five minutes ago. Can't say I found the seat uncomfortable. :-)
The Lyon tram, on the other hand, definitely has uncomfortable seats. I'm sitting in one now. (It's worth the discomfort.)
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Old Dec 8, 19, 11:57 am
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by Antonio8069 View Post
While I am generally loathe to debate others FT, this comment requires a reply. 80 of the 136 metro stations in Santiago were damaged in the riots last month. The videos show the destruction as horrible and senseless. I have no idea how many are operational but its not business as usual for the metro in the Chilean capital.
No debate or arguments at all. I haven't seen Santiago after the riots. Too bad so many stations were damaged.
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Old Dec 8, 19, 12:26 pm
  #40  
 
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1. Personal favorites would have to be either Hong Kong or Tokyo. While I like them and are equally comfortable with either, I'd have to say HK's, if only because I have a much easier time with speaking and reading the local language.

2. I recall being stunned how how large Shinjuku station and the area it encompasses. The first time, I thought it was just where I had been used to getting on and off, but slowly realized it stretched out several blocks. Even now, I marvel at its sheer size and how efficiently it runs for something that large.

3. While there are many, PDX is a pretty good choice. It's clean, comfortable, a short distance from the Gate and very scenic. I also like the HK Express, but not sure if it qualifies as getting one directly into "downtown."

Honorable mentions are London's and New York's, both which I had known quite well when I had worked in those respective cities for a period of time. But, once about 6 months passes, I tend to forget and get lost all over again. When it comes to exits, I just sort of use the force, because I've never been able to read maps, have no sense of direction and no idea how to use a compass. I must waste at least 30 minutes getting lost at every new station I get off of and any familiar ones where I haven't visited in 6 months.

I find Shanghai's the easiest to learn with my deficiencies, and have, amazingly enough, never gotten lost there. I just like the those bright Arrows pointing the way to routes and transfer trains that are idiot proof, in my view. Generally, I don't like to devote any effort to reading or critical thinking on subways, and really find those bright green arrows comforting.

Paris is pretty good, but I just prefer to take taxis or hire a private car in that city. After an unfortunate incident, I will never take public transportation in that city, ever again.
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Old Dec 8, 19, 2:22 pm
  #41  
 
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
The Lyon tram, on the other hand, definitely has uncomfortable seats. I'm sitting in one now. (It's worth the discomfort.)
OK, now I'm on the metro. I guess it's not the most comfortable seat in the world.
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Old Dec 8, 19, 3:25 pm
  #42  
 
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
My three favourites, in alphabetical order, are Hong Kong, London and Paris. My particular dislikes are New York (efficient but dirty and horrible) and San Francisco (badly maintained and filthy).

Obviously a subway system has to get the basics right (speed, connectivity, adequate comfort, convenience etc.) but increasingly I find ease of payment really becomes important. Here London is streets ahead (completely contactless throughout the system, including bus with fare breaks and caps fully integrated), Hong Kong is good but you have to rely on Octopus and busses are different. Paris has fallen behind with the Metro, bus and RER all on different systems.
i still used my oyster on my last london trip, because contactless doesnt support custom 7-day fare cap (only Mon-Sunday)

Hong Kong was actually the (2nd) pioneer in RFID contactless (1997... yes, thats 22 years ago. Korean upass was 1st

paris will be introducing Navigo Easy contactless soon - 2EUR

NYC will get their OMNY contactless working at all subways Oct 2020 - they have some stations with contactless enabled
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Old Dec 8, 19, 3:51 pm
  #43  
 
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Originally Posted by paperwastage View Post
i still used my oyster on my last london trip, because contactless doesnt support custom 7-day fare cap (only Mon-Sunday)

Hong Kong was actually the (2nd) pioneer in RFID contactless (1997... yes, thats 22 years ago. Korean upass was 1st

paris will be introducing Navigo Easy contactless soon - 2EUR

NYC will get their OMNY contactless working at all subways Oct 2020 - they have some stations with contactless enabled
The use of contactless/RFID tech alone isnít that big a deal really. Itís the use of the existing (visa/mc/amex/etc) payment system that makes London streets ahead. Why should I have to bother getting yet another card just to ride public transport?

I believe you can register on the Transport for London website with the payment card you want to use and then you can buy a custom ďtravelcardĒ - not actually a card but just associated to your payment card. Iím usually there for a bit longer so I donít bother and it works out all the relevant fare caps automatically.
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Old Dec 9, 19, 12:27 am
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
There are many threads about subway systems and stations in various FT destination forums, but think a universal thread could be potentially useful. I say "potentially useful" because this topic is admittedly quite broad. In order to slightly offset this, I suggest that we attempt to use city names (instead of 3-letter airport codes) in our posts.

I'm using a template with specific points to get the ball rolling. Others are free to either use it if they like.

What is your favorite subway system, and why?
Washington DC is my favorite because it's usually possible to get seats, the stations are convenient (apart from no Georgetown), and transfers are well designed. Hong Kong is a close second.

What are some of the most enormous subway stations that you know of? How do you deal with them.
People's Square here in Shanghai is the largest (~20 exits) subway station I've ever experienced. And, when I was in Nanning two weeks ago, I learned that they have underground malls that bridge multiple stations. After knowing about such places, I typically put them on the "don't transfer there" list. That having been said, some transfers work better than others, even at big stations.

What is your favorite airport for subway access to the downtown area it serves?
PDX gets my vote on this point. Sure, the Max isn't super fast, but it is cheap, and actually goes through the heart of the city. I also like the Silver Line in Boston because it is free, and provides access to the entire T network

Do you have any general tips to offer on the systems you know best?
In Shanghai, avoid Line 2 during anytime close to rush hour. The same goes for Lines 10 and 1 in Beijing.

What's your protocol for identifying optimal station exits?
Google Maps is typically my initial weapon of choice for this mission, but when I'm hauling luggage, I take 2 minutes to do more research (often on the transit company websites themselves). After I experience a station, I simply take a picture of the station map, and save it to my phone.
my favorite is Beijing Subway. It is extremely modern, and the trains are very awesome. Each line has its own character to it. Also it is the fastest growing subway in the world.

One of the most complicated stations i heard of is bank in london. It is just complicated. It is one of the most hated stations in london.

I guess SF bart is pretty easy. The bart station is right in the terminal, unlike other us airports. But it is very overpriced. But the easiest is obviously Beijing. They have 2 airports, and both are served by their own subway line.

On beijing subway, just know that trains on the urban lines are always crowded, even in mid day. Probably not the case for suburban lines. Also the doors are pretty violent, so you should stand clear.

Bart (SF) is my local system. Many stations just have one exit. But on the downtown exits, i just exit out of the closest station to my destination. Same with the beijing subway
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Old Dec 9, 19, 3:48 am
  #45  
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
What is your favorite subway system, and why?


Difficult one to call. I've always had a soft spot for Paris (despite the smell and chaos) and Berlin (particularly the inadvertently preserved former "Ghost Stations" in the old East). Neither are perfect systems, but they have something particularly atmospheric about them.

What are some of the most enormous subway stations that you know of? How do you deal with them.


I regularly have the pleasure of King's Cross St Pancras, a station with 6 lines going through (three are on the same tracks, but still). I have learnt back routes through the station, over the years, and that it's often a lot easier to walk on the surface than through the tunnels. I've also learnt when it's busy enough to just give up and go another way. When they artificially restrict flow into the station by half-closing the gates, you know it's not going to be a fun journey.

London stations have nothing on the massive Paris complexes like Montparnasse-Bienvenue and Chatelet-les-Halles, though. I just tend to avoid connections at these stations, unless I know they're on nearby lines, because the time lost in tunnels and stairwells isn't worth the more direct route.

What is your favorite airport for subway access to the downtown area it serves?


Oh, Copenhagen, easily. Automated metro (bonus points for being able to sit at the very front), no premium fares, every 5 minutes, and right into Kongens Nytorv in under 15 minutes. Reliable enough that I often used to leave the city an hour before flight departure.

Do you have any general tips to offer on the systems you know best?


The London Underground is an amazing system, but it's old, complex and hugely busy. Time it well, always check for disruptions, and take advice on easy interchange stations. Remember, though, people are sheep-like in crowds, and you can always get more space, particularly nearer the ends of the line, by moving down the platform - particularly to the extremities. There are fast and slow lines - generally, the subsurface lines are slower than the deep tube lines, and the newer ones (Victoria, Jubilee) are quickest of all (until the Brenda Line comes along). Don't assume that you're best off getting the Tube, though - there are lots of routes where you're better walking, or getting a mainline train.

What's your protocol for identifying optimal station exits?


There are apps for this in London, which even go down to telling you the optimal carriage to be in for the exit! It depends how much of a rush I'm in, but in general, I like to familiarise myself a little the the area I'm visiting, so if I'm given an option like "High Street North (West Side)", it's easy to figure out. And if it's not the optimal one? Ach, well.
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