Clean, On Time and Rat-Free: 9 International Transit Systems With Lessons for New York

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Clean, On Time and Rat-Free: 9 International Transit Systems With Lessons for New York

Clean, On Time and Rat-Free: 9 International Transit Systems With Lessons for New York

What smells like a “nightclub toilet,” conjures up the sensation of “an underworld” and resembles a “working museum”?

That can be the New York City subway, in step with global readers who’ve skilled it.

The subway runs across the clock and carries tens of millions day by day throughout a sprawling community. But after we requested riders of public transit all over the world how their methods evaluate, New York’s scored worse than maximum on a number of measures.

[Read New Yorkers’ tales of main subway meltdowns.]

Among the enviable options they described have been Moscow’s chandelier-adorned platforms, Istanbul’s plans for a 500-mile growth and Tokyo’s pleasant attendants who find misplaced pieces.

Below are a few of their stories of outstanding public transit. They had been condensed, edited for readability and paired with pictures in their methods and New York’s.

What studies have you ever had with public transit? Tell us within the feedback.


I’m a senior majoring in Russian research at Carleton College in Minnesota. When I studied in another country in Moscow ultimate 12 months, my father, a South Bronx local, came over. We took the metro repeatedly, and he used to be stunned.

“Where are the rats?” he requested. “I can’t believe how clean it is on these platforms.”

Many of the stations are artworks. Kievskaya, certainly one of my favorites, has chandeliers and glittering mosaics with scenes from Ukrainian and Russian historical past. My different favourite station, Dostoevskaya, has work of art depicting a few of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s well-known works, together with “Crime and Punishment.”

The stations are held to a prime same old of cleanliness, and there’s a continuing police presence. Hooliganism is a major crime, and it’s unlawful to drink within the metro.

New York impressions: The subway in New York doesn’t apply a agenda in my revel in. One time, in the summertime of 2017, I waited 40 mins for a Q teach on Brighton Beach. There used to be development, however come on, 40 mins?

Schuyler Kapnick


I are living in Tokyo and depend on 3 trains — JR and Tokyo Metro strains — to get to my task main meals excursions on the Tsukiji fish marketplace. My first teach is known for being packed all over the morning travel. But riders are just right for essentially the most phase about making room for as many of us as imaginable. When issues move easily, a brand new teach comes at the JR Chuo line each and every short while. If there are ever delays, teach stations, social media and TV information are fast to proportion the tips.

Trains are blank, and some automobiles are reserved for girls and youngsters. There are team of workers on the stations who’re useful and pleasant. One time I left my keys at the teach, and the team of workers at my station briefly discovered which teach it used to be and the place I may observe it down. The keys have been grew to become in and I retrieved them.

Japanese tradition respects others sooner than your self. My teach trip is so quiet within the morning child may sleep. There are laws, equivalent to letting other people off first, that everybody follows.

New York impressions: I lived in New York for a few years, and two issues came about to me at the subway. First, I used to be held up. There have been different riders within the automobile, and no person did the rest to lend a hand. Second, I used to be on a teach and a person had a gun. Everyone panicked, and other people fled to the ends of the teach. This doesn’t occur in Tokyo.

Yukari Sakamoto


As an American and former New Yorker, I’m keenly acutely aware of the general public transit variations between right here and New York. In Amsterdam this is a precedence, a connecting internet of trams, buses, trains and ferries that permits everybody to get round safely and on time.

I got here to Amsterdam in 1989 to paintings for Radio Netherlands Worldwide and began dwelling right here complete time seven years later. Now I’m retired, and as a senior on a restricted source of revenue, I qualify for a unfastened move on all town transportation. This mobility has opened my lifestyles.

When American buddies seek advice from, they suspect our gadget is sort of a dream. But it isn’t. It’s the results of choices made via town and nationwide governments and supported via the citizenry, who receive advantages day by day and are prepared to pay taxes to enhance it.

New York impressions: When I moved to Amsterdam after 15 years in New York, I had no concept that delivery may in reality run on a agenda. All I knew used to be to agenda additional time.

I nonetheless don’t believe the timetables, principally as a result of I need to stay a few of my New Yorker-ness!

Ruth Dreier


The metro here’s referred to as the global’s longest artwork gallery.

One card lets you trip the commuter trains, metro, trams, ferries and buses. There are even driverless automobiles. Transit is protected, punctual and reasonably priced. Between my travel from the suburbs and my paintings co-directing the Stockholm Fringe Festival, I take 3 to 4 transportation modes an afternoon. The gadget is a part of my workplace.

For the pageant we depend on public transit to get our actors, group and target audience participants to each and every venue. In reality we plan the places and agenda across the metro strains. In 2012 we had a roaming efficiency that came about throughout other stations and trains. It gained the Audience Choice Award.

New York impressions: The subway seems find it irresistible does within the films and smells like a shady nightclub rest room.

Adam Potrykus


When my husband and I have been each running remotely, we idea, “Why not do this from Berlin instead of home?” So we left Austin, Tex., and spent a month there in 2016. We returned ultimate 12 months to have fun our 13th marriage ceremony anniversary and my birthday. Berlin is our favourite giant town, largely as a result of how simple transportation is.

The U-Bahn used to be our number one way of transit for the entirety. Trips on it aren’t specifically memorable, and that’s the way it must be. Systems are constant throughout platforms and stations. There aren’t stumbling blocks to easy trip. What’s memorable, despite the fact that, is the beautiful, ornate tiling in most of the stations. You additionally don’t validate your price ticket whilst you input a platform, which I feel best works as a result of German tradition.

New York impressions: When I visited New York, the stations have been grungier and extra rundown than the U-Bahn. But the U-Bahn serves a town with three.five million other people. It’s tougher to handle and blank a gadget in a town of eight.five million.

Jamie Miller

My circle of relatives has a basis that manages a robotics pageant in Turkey. My paintings for it ceaselessly calls for taking public transit to fulfill with faculties, sponsors and groups throughout Istanbul. When I used to be having a look for an condominium, get admission to to the metro and buses used to be mainly my best criterion.

The metro is lovely unbelievable. The trains can raise an enormous selection of other people. We have gentle overcrowding for an hour or two an afternoon, nevertheless it’s in most cases no longer horrendous. Trains are virtually by no means not on time due to just right repairs. My line, the M2, carries about 400,000 other people every day with out hassle.

The trains have TV displays that play plenty of issues. My favorites are the cat (and from time to time canine) movies.

The metro flickers: Trains and stations are glossy blank. What I really like maximum, despite the fact that, is how briskly it’s increasing. There are plans to head from 105 miles of observe to about 680 miles within the subsequent decade or so.

New York impressions: I’ve come to New York for robotics competitions. The subway will get you there. That’s about it. It used to be sluggish and damaged, with plenty of trash and decay. I felt like I used to be in an underworld.

Alex Francis Burchard


My paintings addresses urban-planning problems. Before transferring to Vancouver, I lived in San Francisco, the place I helped take down the Embarcadero Freeway and create the Presidio, a countrywide park. Here, I’m running to take away two previous freeway viaducts, which will probably be changed via a brand new roadway, parks, housing, motorbike paths and extra.

The SkyTrain, our fast transit gadget, has 3 strains that run via metro Vancouver. It performs a key phase in a transportation technique that makes strolling, biking and transit account for part of all journeys in Vancouver.

The whole gadget is driverless. I’ve sat within the entrance seat of a SkyTrain, imagining that I’m the engineer as we race around the Fraser River.

Automation places more cash into repairs and growth. Six new stations opened in 2016. A challenge that can attach the suburbs to a significant sanatorium has been authorized, and an extension to the University of British Columbia is being mentioned.

New York impressions: The subway is a essential public asset with spectacular 24-hour provider. But it’s antiquated, inefficient and no longer designed for every age and skills.

Michael Alexander


I’m a professor of laptop science and use public transit on weekdays to drop off my youngest daughter in class, get to my college, run errands and move to conferences.

Zurich’s gadget has many fascinating options. Most trams and many bus strains have their very own lane, so trip time is kind of predictable.

The buses, with few exceptions, and many trams have low flooring, permitting a stroller, wheelchair or suitcase to be moved simply onboard. Most U-Bahn stations also are obtainable.

The timetables are slightly dense on many strains, and the night and weekend schedules aren’t a lot thinner. On Friday and Saturday there’s a late-night community. I’ve by no means felt unsafe in any bus or tram.

Public transportation covers each and every a part of town. I don’t recall strolling greater than 5 mins to a forestall. It additionally has huge social acceptance; I do know C.E.O.s who take public transit.

We as soon as had guests from the United States who left a purse with cash, jewellery and their passports on a bus. It took a telephone name to determine when and the place to fulfill the bus, and the driving force passed over the bag.

New York impressions: The subway is a pleasing running museum.

Thomas Gross


I’m going to Northeastern University in Boston and studied in London for six months in 2017. I go back each and every so ceaselessly to paintings with a chum there on a trade challenge.

The Tube used to be essentially the most superb factor to occur to me. I may achieve almost each and every spot in London in lower than 40 mins.

The gadget is very environment friendly, with common trains all over the day. For me this is without doubt one of the major causes that London has stayed forward of many towns that haven’t elderly as gracefully.

The trains are extraordinarily lengthy and can have compatibility heaps of passengers. Some stops additionally function nationwide rail stations. I may board a teach close to my condominium and head out virtually anyplace within the United Kingdom, from London’s suburbs to Edinburgh.

Transit fares are in line with zones. One time I unintentionally left the world that my card may get admission to. It used to be 2:30 a.m., and I used to be six miles from my condominium. A safety guard introduced to pay for me and I used to be house inside 30 mins.

New York impressions: I really like that New York’s subway is in depth (extra so than Boston’s), nevertheless it’s extraordinarily deficient high quality. It’s nearer to London on the subject of having many stops in lots of puts, however no longer shut in a lot else.

Andrew Cataldo

Follow Lara Takenaga on Twitter: @LaraTakenaga.

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