This is part 3 of my super scientific comparison and contrasting of the NYC Subway and the London Underground. In this part I tak about crowds and why I do not love them so much.
Rush hour in New York can be interesting. When I lived on the upper East side I would have to wait pretty often for five trains before I could even get on one. I lived at the 96th St stop on the Lexington Ave line. at 96th. As Upper East side goes that is pretty north and it was still horrible at rush hour. When I lived in Long Island city if there was any problem with the 7 train I would have to wait. You paid the price for being at the last stop in Queens. One time had to wait about seven trains to get on. Typically 2-3 would be a regular occurrence.
In more recent years when I lived in Forest Hills the crowds in the morning haven’t been as bad since I was at a stop that had 2 Locals & 2 Express trains and I could take any of them to work. Getting home however I would have to pick what line to goto and it could get pretty interesting if it got backed up at all.
In London depending on the time of day there are crowds. Going to work even at the night of rush hour in the 5 months I have been here I only once couldn’t get on a train and had to wait for another one. It can get pretty crowded in some stations though. I had to go to bank during rush hour a few nights. There was a line from getting into the station through until you got onto the platform. Unlike New York the line moved so was a crowd of people actually moving together. Once on the platform I had to wait several trains to get onto one. It seems like that’s normal at rush-hour for that station.
Luckily for me my daily commute is crowded however not ridiculously so. My biggest challenge is the last transfer on the way home. It’s at a major station in the line I take to go home. The line splits before I get off the train. That means I cannot just get on any train for that line. Side story i have only once got on the wrong train and had to turn around and go back. To make matters worse the other side of the line that I do not take has more trains than the one I do take. On the plus side I have gotten into a good commute rhythm and I haven’t had much of a crowd issue in a while.
The winter here is a tough one. It’s probably New York, however I am calling it a draw. My day-to-day experience in London has been pretty good so far. I see how the crowds could be consistently worse here in busy stations. I have heard they have had to close stations to new passingers when it gets really bad. I haven’t experienced it however I cannot recall that every happening in NY.
In the 4th and final segment I will cover etiquette. That one is more a commentary on the people rather than the system. That being said there are a few nifty things that systematically are done here that help etiquette.