There is no way that the London Tube and the New York Subway System are very different from one another. The MTA has its problems but still provides its riders with a system that goes great distances at a reasonable cost. The article written by an ex-pat living in London has some valid but very weak points of comparison.
Let’s lay down the basic facts of the two systems (Tube Vs. MTA)
The MTA Subway system
1. Runs 24 hours a day
The Tube runs from 4:45 to 1am since they don’t have 3rd or 4th rails needed to do repairs
2. MTA consists of 468 stations covering 842 miles of track with 11 subway lines
The Tube has 11 stations covering 250 miles of track and 11 subway lines
3. The MTA fare cost is $2.25 per trip…period
The London Underground has fare zones and the ticket fares are the pay-as-you-go variety
4. Subways are roomy with high ceilings
The London Tube has much smaller train cars then the one found in New York City. As the picture shows, there isn’t much room between the aisles so if it’s hard to get one of those comfy cushioned seats then a rider is left standing. It is especially difficult to travel from the airport to the center of London on the trains because there is very little room for luggage no matter how light you pack. There aren’t even any overhead racks like those found in the Japanese subways and trains.
The Tube has nice cars with comfy seats but when there is no air-conditioning in the warmer months then it’s not so pleasant and never mind the odor. The MTA platforms are not the most comfortable on a steamy summer day in NYC but it’s nice to know that you will most likely have some relief when the train does come.
The MTA has many shortcomings but what do you expect from a system that covers great distances 24 hours a day at one flat rate. The fare may seem high to some but if you are coming into work everyday from all the way out near the airports or the Far Rockaways then $2.25 isn’t so bad. The unlimited cards are still economical even though the prices have gone up a lot in the past few years. There is much room for improvement when it comes to MTA signs and how they communicate service changes and advisors to riders. All I can say is that I take the subway almost everywhere in the metro area and as a regular user I have some complaints but I know that it’s not perfect. I haven’t needed to own a car since I have moved here 10 years ago. That says something.