While I am still settling into writing routine I figured I would start off with some comparison posts. I know its a bit cliche to do comparisons. I also know people who have moved countries say you shouldn’t really do it if you want to enjoy your new home better however with some things my mind just goes to comparisons. And no comparison between New York and London would be complete I feel without talking about the subway and the Underground. FYI I refer to the Underground a lot in this post. I do that instead of saying the Tube mainly because my Dragon Anywhere dictation had trouble getting Tube correct in all the different contexts I was using. I really mean the Tube and the DLR in my comparison since I use both systems daily.

Payments

The Underground and the subway are in some ways similar and yet are so starkly different. First difference between the systems that stands out for me how you pay. In New York the subway is a flat rate to go anywhere. You can also purchase a daily, weekly, monthly unlimited card. The flat rate of the unlimited cards were pretty awesome. That is where the awesome ends with the Metro Card. You see for those of you that do not live in NY the Metro Card requires you to use a magnetic strip reader that was semi new and cool when introduced in the mid 1990’s. Ah the aggravating memories of having to stand at a turnstile swiping my card 15-20 times before it would work. Or swiping it 15-20 times only to have it say just used when you did not just use it because you were standing there for 5 minutes trying to get the dam card to work. Wow, I just had bad flashbacks about that. That is just two typical issues I had with my Metro Card.. I sum up the Metro Card experience by saying it is 1990s technology that has not aged well. At present there’s only a rough roadmap to replace the system.

The underground on the other hand you pay based on where you are and where you’re going to. I get the reasons for this however in practice it costs me more. Payments on the underground are contactless. I had the oyster card when I visited for moving here. On the last trip or two visiting I realized I could use my iPhone with Apple pay to tap into and out of the system. Since I’ve been living in London I have an Apple watch series 3 and now am able to make payments via my watch.

Head-to-head contactless payments for the Underground wins. Even if it costs a bit more money the Metro card is crap. I had countless issues with it. The simple fact that I can pay for my trip using my watch will win anytime.

In Part 2 of The Underground vs Subway I will ponder why in the world stuff breaks so much on 100+ year old infrastructure.

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